What should you do with your empty prescription bottles? How about all of the medical information you receive, for example your explanation of benefits? Getting careless with your personal medical information could be dangerous, and the theft of this invaluable data can be deadly.
Approximately 1 ) 5 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year, a crime that costs the nation $41. 3 billion annually. Prescribed fraud is a growing form of medical identity theft that is not only incredibly costly and time-consuming; it can also put your health at risk and even be life-threatening. Unfortunately, medical identity theft is not commonly known by many Americans, and often isn’t detected until it’s past too far. When we don’t take precautions to avoid prescription fraud and other forms of healthcare identity theft, we put ourselves in jeopardy of becoming another victim.
What is Prescription Fraud?
Prescription fraud happens when identity thieves use your personal information to fill prescriptions in your name. They use your medical identity to get medical treatment at hospitals and doctors’ offices, obtain medications, and entry other healthcare services.
Prescription fraud doesn’t just leave you with a huge bill-it can potentially put your health in danger as well. You may find that false details has been added to your personal health record, such as a change in blood kind or supposed allergies. Every surgical procedure received and prescription filled by the identity thief becomes part of your own medical history, which means you may not be able to obtain the life-saving treatment you need in an crisis medical situation.
Detecting and resolving medical identity theft can be difficult too. You may not discover that you’re a victim until a pharmacy refuses to fill up a prescription because it conflicts with another medication you appear to be getting. To make matters worse, fixing errors in your record can be very challenging because of medical privacy laws. Ironically, exactly the same laws that were implemented to protect your privacy and health information are now safeguarding the medical identity thief. This restricted access to medical records prolongs the duration of the theft, costing you countless time, money, plus frustration.
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How to Prevent Prescription Fraud
One of the easiest ways to avoid this type of healthcare identity theft is simply to be aware of whatever you throw in the trash. Prescription medication labels carry such sensitive information otherwise you full name and address, the prescribing physician, the type of medication, prescription number, and the pharmacy’s contact information-all from the things a thief needs to carry out prescription fraud. Instead of throwing empty prescription bottles in the trash, including the drug information forms, remove the labels and shred them. Other ways to prevent prescription fraud:
᾿ Review every single explanation of benefits (EOB). Examine the charges for medical trips or prescriptions you didn’t get, and report any suspicious exercise immediately.
᾿ Never simply throw medical information in the trash. Rubbish divers can easily access your personal details if you fail to shred the files.
᾿ Secure medical records. Keep your medical records in a safe location inside your home or in a safe down payment box, away from the prying eyes of visitors. Believe it or not, friends plus relatives who have easy access to your personal data are often the culprits.
᾿ Safeguard prescription bottles. Hide or lock-up your medication rather than leaving it in plain sight or in the medicine cabinet. This will prevent anyone from walking off with your prescription drugs and, later, your identity.
᾿ Manage written prescription slips. No longer throw them away or leave them out where they can be stolen. These slips are all an identity thief needs to fill a prescription in your title, leave you without your medication, steal your medical identity, and even put your life in danger.
᾿ Enlist the help of an identity theft protection services such as ID Theft Solutions, which could proactively help prevent medical identity fraud and even restore your identity when it’s stolen.
Protecting your identity is definitely an ongoing process that takes caution. By taking some common sense precautions, you are able to avoid the exorbitant costs and health hazards of medical identity theft.