Identity theft is the fraudulent stealing of somebody’s personal information, such as name and social security number, in order to acquire personal gain, such as money, personal gratification, or prestige. Medical identity theft also includes the fraudulent stealing of a person’s health insurance number to illegally obtain medical services or devices, as well as prescription drugs and insurance reimbursements.
Medical identity theft affects doctors, patients, insurance companies, and government agencies such as Medicare, and results in substantial losses. Medical identity theft is a violation of federal as well as state law, depending on the nature of the case and involved parties.
Due to the amounts of money involved with federal programs such as Medicare, the frequent targets of this type of identity theft are doctors and physicians. Medical identity theft is definitely a major concern of Medicare as well as other agencies who routinely investigate identity theft.
The nature of medical identity theft not only involves patients, whose medical records and history are compromised, but it also involves the professional credentials of a physician, causing great financial and personal harm to their career and reputation.
If a patient’s medical information has been stolen, it can be used to access medical insurance and accrue large medical bills resulting in collection agencies contacting you for payment. Medical debts can have disastrous effects on your credit, affecting your ability to get a job, a loan, or buy insurance.
Your medical information may also be compromised by getting mingled with that of the identity thief. This could result in being unable to get your prescriptions, your getting improper care such as the wrong blood type in a transfusion, and other life-threatening medical errors. If could also affect your ability to get the benefits you’re entitled to from your own policy.
Penal Code 530.5 makes it a violation to transfer, sell, or provide personal identity information to another person without that person’s direct consent. This makes it a crime for somebody to illegally acquire and retain the personal identifying information of somebody else. Since identity theft is fraud, a theft charge is added which can either be a petty theft or grand theft charge. If the value of the identity theft is under $950 it’s considered petty theft, and if its over $950 it’s considered grand theft.
If you have been the victim of medical identity theft or identity theft, you need to file a police report, then contact a criminal defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.