Surge in Medical Identity Theft Cripples Credit Ratings
Fraud spreading with use of electronic medical records
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2009 6:34 AM CDT
Around 250,000 Americans had their identities stolen and used to obtain medical care in 2007.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Watchdog groups warn that medical identity theft is on the rise with the growing use of electronic records that lack proper safeguards, the New York Times reports. Fraudsters use stolen insurance information or Social Security numbers to get free medical care and the victims are often unaware they have been scammed until years later when the unpaid bills show up on credit reports.

Other victims only learn their identities have been stolen when incorrect information appears in their medical files, a potential hazard in the event of an emergency. Health providers say they’re stepping up measures to stop identity theft, but many believe those moves don’t go far enough, especially in light of the administration's plans to spend $20 billion to increase the use of electronic medical records.