Skip to comments.Is your doctor's office the most dangerous place for data?
Posted on 02/10/2015 6:25:20 AM PST by TurboZamboni
Everyone worries about stolen credit cards or hacked bank accounts, but just visiting the doctor may put you at greater risk for identity fraud.
Those medical forms you give the receptionist and send to your health insurer provide fertile ground for criminals looking to steal your identity, since health care businesses can lag far behind banks and credit card companies in protecting sensitive information. The names, birthdates and most importantly Social Security numbers detailed on those forms can help hackers open fake credit lines, file false tax returns and create fake medical records.
"It's an entire profile of who you are," said Cynthia Larose, chair of the privacy and security practice at the law firm Mintz Levin in Boston. "It essentially allows someone to become you."
Social Security numbers were created to track the earnings history of workers in order to determine government benefits. Now, health care companies are, in some cases, required to collect the numbers by government agencies. They also use them because they are unique to every individual and more universal than other forms of identification like driver's licenses, said Dr. Ross Koppel, a University of Pennsylvania professor who researches health care information technology.
But once someone creates a stolen identity with a Social Security number, it can be hard to fix the damage. A person can call a bank to shut down a stolen credit card, but it's not as easy of a process when it comes to Social Security numbers.
(Excerpt) Read more at twincities.com ...
I listen closely to lifelok ads and there are some pretty specific stealthy disclaimer words dotted through out..If, maybe, could be and “our network” type stuff.
For an excellent discussion of hacking (with reference to medical records) and what to do about it view Dr. Steve Belovich on Youtube: You got it. Hackers want it. What's your plan? How to fight and win the new war.
Many are on Medicare. They have no choice giving their SS# to the Dr. because their Medicare number is same as SS#.
I never give my SS#, but I’m < 2 years away from what I believe is mandatory Medicare. Scarey.
I tried that in about 1992...But when I got to my referral specialist...they ALREADY had it...I have tried not to since....but it’s a battle
I never give doctors my ssn.
I was a victim of identity theft a few months ago. And I have reason to believe the info was stolen from my medical records.
It takes a special kind of low-life piece of scum to steal the identity of a hospital patient.
99.999% of insurance cards have your SS number.
If you use any insurance card to pay for health care, they have your SS#.
The only way to avoid this is to pay cash before treatment or give them a credit card for payment. We have some younger relatives in great health. When they need some rare medical treatment, they use their credit card or cash.
I only know what my slightly older cousin and my internet search found. If you don’t take Medicare, many insurance companies drop you at 65. I work part time and get my insurance through my husband. He’s a year younger and works for a large company. Chances are good my cousin is correct as her husband worked for a large company before retirement.
My wife and I in the past two+ years can verify your concerns re medical records.
For decades my wife was the lead/head RN in a FP medical office. For a long time, the turn over of receptionists was high. The receptionist in medical office is often where personal info can be stolen and abused.
Add to that problem, other non office people who had access to the office, like cleaning people, when the staff wasn’t there.
Basically, the doctor gave us free medical treatment, so there was no need for our SS # . So they didn’t need our #’s.
My wife and I needed some surgery in the past few years. The info we had to give the receptionists was scary.
Our FP retired, and we went to new FP in a group. Again the data we gave the office was scary. Then, when we tried to log on to the site, we got warnings from Norton/Comcast stating the site was not secure. Our new FP, didn’t believe me re the warning, and I made a print screen copy and showed him. He used Comcast and Norton at home. I asked him to try it on his medical record on their company site. He got the same warning. He hammered their IT company. Now the site is secure.
Producing picture id is sadly necessary. Fraud is very common with multiple people attempting to use the same insurance policy.
Odd. I have never seen an insurance card with my SSN on it.
Thanks to both of you, FR again serves as a great sounding board re issues like the requiring of SS numbers to get medical care.
My wife and I are both over 75, and we are on Medicare for over a decade. Since we went on Medicare, we are required to submit our numbers which are on our insurance cards, Blue Cross and Medicare. So, we have submitted our numbers for elective surgeries, ER treatment and other medical costs for over a decade.
After reading your good replies, I did a quick Google survey of the laws re requirement of SS #’s for health care:
Apparently, there are no Federal Laws banning the requirement of SS #’s to get health care except for MediCare..
The states can pass such laws, and some have passed laws banning this requirement unless you get MediCare.
I would appreciate a heads up on what you come up with and any links.
Someone stealing another’s SS# is a terrible crime. We are advising our younger immediate family, nephews and nieces to do what mad as he$$ suggests, pay cash and never give out your SS #.
Fortunately, our younger heirs/nephews/nieces have similiar genetic histories of good health and seldom need any medical care besides an acute treatment like stiches or a steriod shot for severe allergies. So walk in clinics are good choices for them. They pay with cash or a credit card and never pass on their SS #.
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