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Stealing IDs to Get Healthcare

IDENTITY THEFT—U.S.

March 2, 2010

Medical identity theft--using stolen personal information to obtain healthcare services--is on the rise, with one Missouri hospital reporting four such cases in the past 45 days alone. NPR reports that in addition to privacy violations, serious health risks can occur when inaccurate information--such as blood types or drug allergies--is recorded in victims' medical records. Stephen Niemczak, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, says ID theft is "a large problem that affects most corners of our country." Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, points out that there is currently no national standard for dealing with medical identity theft, advising patients to get copies of their medical records.
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