CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Data breaches continue to make news, and a growing concern is when it deals with your medical information.
- In May, nearly 7.7 million LabCorp customers had their personal and financial data exposed through a data breach by a third-party collection agency, AMCA.
- In April, 11.9 million customers were notified an “unauthorized user” gained access to billing records for Quest Diagnostics.
Breaches like these not only open you up to the potential for identity theft, it could also allow con artists to file medical claims under your name, and may even be used to receive medical care, get prescription drugs or file claims with your insurance provider.
If you become a victim of a medical data breach, you should:
- Contact your insurer immediately and inform them about the situation.
- Review your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies, which you can do free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. if you notice unusual activity, consider putting a freeze on your reports.
What are some ways you can protect yourself? According to the Better Business Bureau:
- Be wary of ‘free’ offers: Be cautious if someone offers you ‘free’ health services or products, but then requires you to provide your health plan ID number. Medical thieves may pretend to work for an insurance company or doctor’s office to trick you into revealing sensitive information.
- Do not overshare medical information: Sharing this kind of personal information by phone or email is only wise if you initiated the contact and know who you are dealing with. Call your doctor directly or login to your insurer’s patient portal to verify. Find out why your doctor needs a piece of information, how it will be kept safe, and with whom it will be shared.
- Secure or Shred outdated documents: Keep paper and electronic copies of your medical records in a safe place. Shred outdated health insurance forms, physician statements, and the labels from prescription bottles before you throw them out.
To learn more, go to www.BBB.org.