When most people hear the words “identity theft,” they may think about credit cards being stolen. However, identity theft can affect more than just your credit score; it can also affect your medical records. Dealing with identity theft is the last thing you want to do when you have a chronic lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Here are 3 tips that are intended to help patients prevent medical identity theft.
Have a Current Copy of Your Records
By law, every patient is entitled to a copy of their medical records, and helping prevent identity theft is one reason to take advantage of this. Medical records contain many types of personal identification information that can be hijacked by people who are looking to steal identities. Your social security number, credit card information and current prescriptions are just some of the information included in most medical records.
One way to ensure your information is secure is to keep your own copy of it. This will allow you to check your copy against others to see if your information has been changed. If it has been changed in ways that aren’t reflected in your copy, it’s a good indication that there has either been a clinical error or that someone has stolen your identity.
2. Check Your Credit Report Regularly
Since medical records often contain information about credit cards you’ve used to pay for medical services, they are a prime target for people looking to steal such information. Regularly checking your credit report is one way to help minimize the damage identity theft causes. You should notify your bank or credit card company if you notice any charges made in locations you haven’t visited or to companies that you don’t use.
In many cases, you can sign up for regular credit report updates with your bank or credit card company, and you may even be able to register to receive alerts when unusual activity is reported on your account.
3. Trust, but Verify
When it comes to dealing with medical service providers, it’s important to always verify who you’re giving your personal identification information to. Identity thieves will often send out emails that seem to come from recognizable organizations like a doctor or insurance company.
If you receive such an email, you should make an effort to verify who you’re giving your information to before sending it. Especially if you didn’t initiate the communication. For example, you can get in contact with your regular medical insurance agent to see if they requested your information. You can also get in touch with doctors and other medical services directly by phone or email to find out if they made the request. Only once you’ve verified that the request is from a legitimate source should you give out the information.
Lung Health Institute Protects Our Patients’ Identities
At Lung Health Institute, we understand that identity theft is a real danger in the medical field. We are HIPAA compliant to ensure the identities of our patients are secure when they choose us for chronic lung disease treatment. We offer minimally invasive cellular therapy to help reduce chronic inflammation in the lungs.
Take the next step to Breathe Easier™ with security. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.