Medical ID theft
7 Healthcast: Medical ID theft
An $800 bill from the city of Dallas, and another for $200 from her insurance company. Charges for an ambulance ride Sandra never took.
She tried to clear up the charges.
"They kept asking me what's my address and I said, 'Well, what address did you pick her up from?' and they gave it to me and I said, 'I don't even know where that is,'" Cummings said.
She was a victim of medical identity theft- a crime where thieves undergo medical procedures or services in your name. Sometimes using no more personal information than your home address.
"There's also the problem that the medical records belonging to the imposter now becoming commingled with the victims information," said identity theft expert Linda Foley.
One recommendation- ask all of your healthcare providers to ask for a second form of ID.
"This should be a corporate policy that really does need to be instigated in every medical facility across the country," Foley said.
Sounds easy enough, but hospitals say it's much more complicated in the emergency room.
"In the ER we are vulnerable because we do have to treat all patients whether we can validate their identity or not," said Elaine Anderson of Texas Health Resources.
To protect yourself, experts suggest checking your medical records for false entries and immediately follow up on any suspicious bills you receive from doctors or insurance companies.(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)