A 2007 federal report on crime — the most recent year for which data are available — found that more than 250,000 U.S. residents annually are victims of medical identity theft, the New York Times reports.
Pam Dixon — executive director of World Privacy Forum and author of a 2006 medical identity theft report — said that number likely has increased since 2007 because more people are using electronic health records that do not have adequate safeguards.
According to the Times, medical identities can be stolen through several means, including:
- Social Security numbers;
- Insurance information such as member IDs and group policy numbers; and
- By health care workers.
While there are protections for traditional identity theft, the Times reports that no such protections exist specifically for medical identity theft.
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