Medical Identity Theft on the Rise

By: Arieanna Schweber | 3/13/2015

The Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft, prepared by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of identity experts, indicates that medical identity theft increased by 21.7%, with an estimated 2.32 million Americans victims of medical identity theft during or before 2014. The outcome of medical identity theft can be wide ranging, from improper medical care to very costly resolutions for consumers. The report shares how both consumers and healthcare organizations can take steps to slow the growth of medical identity theft.

Medical identity theft occurs when breach victims have had their name and identity used to fraudulently receive medical services, prescription drugs and/or goods, including attempts to commit fraudulent billing. The outcome of this type of theft can be wide-reaching, from credit issues to incorrect health assessments. Medical identity theft can take years to resolve, if at all possible. 65% of medical identity theft victims had to pay an average of $13,500 to resolve the crime, according to the study.


The report shares that consumers affected by a healthcare data breach expect healthcare organizations to reimburse the costs to mitigate potential damages and protect their identity and consider prompt notification of the breach to be a high priority. According to the recipe, 53% of those affected by medical identity theft believe the healthcare provider’s negligence was a factor in the theft incident. This belief has led to an erosion in consumer confidence and trust.

We recently discussed why healthcare data is so valuable, noting how 90% of healthcare organizations reported at least one data breach in the past 2 years – and 38% reported more than 5.Employee negligence is a major risk for healthcare organizations, with this risk only being fueled by BYOD. Theft and loss of devices is the most common cause of healthcare data breaches; with the growing number of access points (i.e. devices) that access protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive information, as well as other trends such as BYOD and the IoT, the healthcare industry is an attractive target for cybercriminals.

We’ve shared with you our Top Tips for Keeping Patients’ Healthcare Data Protectedand have a number of useful whitepapers on our website that can set you in the right direction. Healthcare organizations around the world rely on Absolute Software to secure devices and the sensitive patient data they contain. Close to 80% of healthcare data breach scenarios can be mitigated with Absolute Software. Learn more here.

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