What is medical identity theft? - Definition from WhatIs.com

Definition

medical identity theft

Medical identity theft is the illegal access and use of a patient's personally identifiable information (PII) to obtain medical treatment, services or goods.

The thief's goal is to obtain key pieces of  personal information that will allow the thief to impersonate the victim. In addition to stealing the victim's date of birth, address and social security number, the thief may also steal the identification number the patient is assigned by his or her health care provider. The stolen information may be used to open credit card accounts or obtain medical services such as treatment at an emergency medical crisis location. The information may also be used to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs or expensive medical equipment that can be sold on the black market. 

Victims of medical identity theft may receive bills for medical services they did not receive, and the length of time it can take to resolve a dispute may have a negative impact on the victim's credit rating and future insurance costs. The perpetrators' actions may also add false information to the victim's electronic health record (EHR). Left unnoticed, this could provide medical personnel with incorrect or conflicting information about the patient's medical history or prescribed medications.

To mitigate the impact of medical identity theft, patients should routinely monitor their credit ratings and carefully read over bank, credit card and insurance statements to ensure that  all charges are legitimate. Suspicious activity should be reported to the appropriate agency as soon as possible. 

This was last updated in April 2016
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • single sign-on (SSO)

    - Single sign-on is a session and user authentication process in which a user can access multiple applications with one name and password. (SearchSecurity.com)

  • rogue employee

    - A rogue employee’s actions might be relatively innocuous or serious enough to pose a risk to business continuity. In the worst-case scenario, a rogue employee is an insider threat, actively working... (WhatIs.com)

  • Internet Storm Center

    - The Internet Storm Center is a website provided by the SANS Institute that monitors current online security attacks and publishes information about them. The site is often referred to as an Interne... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Security threats and countermeasures

    - Terms related to security threats, including definitions about anti-virus programs or firewalls and words and phrases about malware, viruses, Trojans and other security attacks.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About medical identity theftPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.