Scam Emails Archive : Generic

Subject: Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #293, 7-23-08

From: "Scambusters Editors" <>

This email with the subject "Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #293, 7-23-08" was received in one of Scamdex's honeypot email accounts on Wed, 23 Jul 2008 01:12:53 -0700 and has been classified as a Generic Scam.

The sender was "Scambusters Editors" <>, although it may have been spoofed.


Internet Scambusters (tm)
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Scambusters Audri, Jim and Carole
Issue #293  July 23, 2008


Note 1: Easily change your subscription information by
clicking the link at the very bottom of this newsletter.

Note 2: Please share this newsletter with 3 or 4 of your
friends or colleagues who you think will benefit from it.

Hi Scamdex,

Today we have a special issue about something we've never
covered before: medical identity theft. Everyone should read
this issue and share it with the people they care about.

As a Scambusters subscriber, you know quite a bit about the
kind of identity theft where a person steals credit card or
bank information to drain cash away from your accounts.

But when someone assumes your identity in order to collect
money, prescription drugs, or health services, it can affect
your health as much as your wallet.

According to, up to 500,000 people in the US alone
may be victims of medical identity theft -- and not even be
aware of the problem!

Before we get started with today's special topic, we suggest
you check out this week's issue of Scamlines -- What's New in
Scams? -- here.

Next, we recommend you check out the most popular articles from
our other sites during the past week:

Answers to 7 of the Biggest Questions About Travel Photography:
An Interview With Brenda Tharp

One Time Use Credit Cards: The Wave of the Future

What You Need To Know About Flea and Tick Protection for Pets

What To Do If You're the Victim of Employment Identity Theft

On to today's special issue..

Medical Identity Theft: A Scary Form of Identity Theft Few
People Even Know About

What do your medical records say about you? That you're
allergic to penicillin? That you're blood type A positive?
Things a doctor would need to know if you were being treated in
an emergency?

What if the records were changed?

What if they said you've over-ordered a prescription for a
controlled substance? Or that you've maxed out your medical
benefits with expensive elective surgery charges?

These changes could include things that could keep you from
being treated correctly (or at all) in the future.

When you're a victim of medical identity theft, you lose more
than just money. Information that health care providers depend
upon to make medical decisions for you can become corrupted.

Medical identity theft is harder to detect, harder to recover
from and has more serious consequences than traditional
identity theft (which is bad enough!).

"People can die from this crime," said Pam Dixon, executive
director of the World Privacy Forum, in a 2007 interview with
Bankrate. "It is a potentially huge issue. It's an incredibly
intransigent problem and victims are finding that they have to
sue health care providers to have their records corrected."

Medical identity theft occurs when a medical identity thief
uses your Social Security number or health insurance
information, either to get free medical treatment or to collect
insurance money for services that were never performed.

It can cause erroneous and fictitious information to become
part of its victims' medical records. For example, an
incorrectly updated blood type or allergy record could result
in serious consequences, and perhaps even a patient's death.

There's financial damage as well. Hospital collection agencies
may turn to victims for payments not collected through

There are two types of perpetrators who commit this crime.

First is the person who needs medical treatment. This person
walks into an emergency room, claiming the identity of a
neighbor or friend, in order to get emergency treatment they
can't afford. Or they use another person's Social Security
number, stolen driver's license or health insurance card to get
a surgery for which they have no medical coverage.

But more often, medical identity theft is committed by a crime
ring that includes health care insiders. The black market will
pay a health care employee as much as $50 for a stolen medical
record, compared to a dollar or two for a Social Security
number, according to the World Privacy Forum.

The perpetrators use the records to file fraudulent claims with
Medicare or health insurance companies. In 2003 a five-person
crime ring in Milpitas, California, pleaded guilty to stealing
more than $900,000 through fraudulent Medicare claims, MSNBC

To cover their tracks, the perpetrators often redirect hospital
bills or health insurance statements to a new address. Because
they never see the redirected insurance statements, victims who
are not seeking current medical treatment may not detect the
fraud for years.

Some people do find out about medical identity theft when a
debt collector sends a letter or calls. However, others only
find out after an insurance investigator alerts them to the
problem, or after they notice errors in their medical file, or
after they get a strange bill for medical services they did not

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) -- created in 1996 to protect patient privacy -- has
inadvertently made it more difficult for victims of medical
identity theft to correct their medical records.

HIPAA can keep victims from seeing medical information created
by the perpetrator. It also doesn't require doctors to remove
incorrect information from records -- and many health care
providers choose not to for liability reasons.

In response to these legal snafus, the World Privacy Forum is
now calling for more access and control by individuals over
their own medical records.

The World Privacy Forum says to carefully review insurance
statements for anything that seems wrong, even if you don't owe
any money. Look for:

-- Charges for services that you did not receive.

-- Charges for office visits you did not make.

-- Charges for medical equipment you did not use.

Action: Ask to get a copy of your medical records from each
health care provider you use once a year. That way, if your
medical records are tampered with in the future, you'll have a
copy of the correct information.

In addition, request a listing of benefits paid for in your
name from your health insurer each year. By proactively asking
for this record, you will uncover problems even if a criminal
has attempted to redirect bills to a new address.

Under HIPAA you have a right to see your records from every
health insurer and provider you have used. If you see payments
you do not recognize, ask questions.

If you think you may be the victim of medical identity theft,
call your local police or the Medicaid/Medicare fraud hotline
at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477); or the Federal Trade
Commission Identity Theft Toll-Free Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT

You can find more tips for victims here:

Finally, we wondered if LifeLock's guarantee covered medical
identity theft as well as other forms of identity theft.

So, we asked -- we wanted to be certain to give you the
correct information. (After all, we knew once we sent out this
article, we'd get lots of Lifelock subscribers asking us this

Answer: LifeLock's "guarantee DOES cover medical ID theft."

After we found that out, we enrolled two additional members of
our family in LifeLock.

If you are not a LifeLock subscriber and want to find out
more about LifeLock, you can do so here.

(Note: We get a commission when people sign up using our link.
This means you are helping to financially support Scambusters
with your order. And as you know, we only recommend products
we truly believe in and, in the case of LifeLock, it's a
service we personally use. Plus if you use our Scambusters
link, you get a 10% discount and 30-day free trial.)

That's it for today -- see you next week.

- Please Check Out These Offers - They Keep Scambusters Free -
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Looking for a REAL Way to Protect Against Identity Theft?

An identity is stolen every 2 seconds -- which is very scary.

We've been searching for years for something (free or fee
based) we could wholeheartedly recommend to our subscribers.

And we've finally found it: LifeLock.

LifeLock takes the worry out of identity theft:

    "We looked at a number of companies and found LifeLock had
    the best product for protecting people from ID theft plus
    much more. I wish we had found them before my wife and I
    recently became victims."
     - Bobby Joe Harris, Retired Chandler (AZ) Police Chief

     "I took all the precautions to fight ID Theft but never
     once thought about my son becoming a victim until he
     became one. Criminals don't care if you're 2 or 102, as
     long as they get what they want.

     "I have now turned to LifeLock to protect my children and
     only wish I would've known about LifeLock before this
     happened to my son."
     - Lisa Terwillegar, Hickory, North Carolina

     "I have dealt with the results of ID theft for more than
     three years and read about all the so-called solutions.
     Until LifeLock came along, I never thought I would see an
     answer to the problem. LifeLock can stop this crime!"
     - Paul Fairchild, Edmond, Oklahoma

Find out how you can proactively protect your identity and
make even your Social Security number useless to thieves.

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