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" <email@example.com>, although it may have been spoofed.
<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Internet Scambusters (tm) The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud http://www.scambusters.org 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 WebMD.com, 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. http://www.scambusters.org/scamlines/18.html 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 http://www.7photographyquestions.com/audio-podcast/ One Time Use Credit Cards: The Wave of the Future http://www.creditcardwhizkid.com/2008/05/one-time-use-credit-cards-the-wave-of-the-future.html What You Need To Know About Flea and Tick Protection for Pets http://www.consumertipsreports.org/flea_and_tick_protection_for_pets_is_serious_business.html What To Do If You're the Victim of Employment Identity Theft http://www.identitytheftfixes.com/employment_identity_theft_on_the_rise.html 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 insurance. 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 reported. 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 receive. 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 (438-4338). You can find more tips for victims here: http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/medidtheft_consumertips.html 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 question.) 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. http://www.lifelock.com/index.php?promocode=SCAMBUSTERS (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 - - - - - - We Highly Recommend All of These Products - - - - - ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- 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. LifeLock is recommended by Scambusters.org. Get a 10% discount and 30 Day Free Trial when you use SCAMBUSTERS code. And be sure to find out about LifeLock's $1,000,000 guarantee. Visit: http://www.Lifelock.com/index.php?promocode=SCAMBUSTERS ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success? Most people do. No matter how close they come, something always seems to hold them back. Truly successful people know what it is, and how to defeat it without struggle. Do you? The good news is there is a simple approach almost anyone can use to make their life a smashing success. "Absolute magic! 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It's fast, easy, and you do NOT need a lot of money to get started. This short report will show you everything you need to know to get started now. Visit now for details: http://scambusters.org/a/affiliatesuccessplan.html ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- ===== About Internet Scambusters - Administrivia Copyright (c) Audri and Jim Lanford. All rights reserved. To subscribe, visit: http://www.scambusters.org/ To remove yourself or change address options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?TAwMjEyctMzsDKyMjAystEa0zKwcDKysrA== (you might have to copy and paste it into your browser) This will take you off the Scambusters list. To send us feedback, do NOT click 'Reply.' Instead, please use our Feedback Form located at: http://www.scambusters.org/feedback.html The information we have on file is: Your name: Scamdex Your email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not send vacation notices or other autoresponders to us. This may take you off the Scambusters list. Scambusters is a public service from Jim and Audri Lanford. Since Scambusters is a public service and we receive thousands of emails, we cannot answer individual emails. For more about our privacy and legal policy, see http://www.scambusters.org/privacy.html Lanford Inc. 197 New Market Center, #115 Boone, NC 28607 To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?TAwMjEyctMzsDKyMjAystEa0zKwcDKysrA==