Ten Signs You Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft

Ten Signs You Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft

Identity theft is rampant. One in three data breach victims will experience fraud according to a 2018 study by Javelin Strategy & Research. The number of identity fraud victims in the United States alone is at 16.7 million with over $16.8 billion stolen. Read More

 

Do you know the latest signs of identity theft? Here are the top ten red flags that trouble is brewing:

– You receive a notice, either in the mail or via email, that you have been a part of a data breach.

– Your credit score quickly drops without explanation.

– Withdrawals from your bank account start to occur … and they are withdrawals that you haven’t scheduled or already made.

– Although you haven’t filed any insurance claims, your rates rapidly rise.

– Your Social Security statements aren’t matching your records.

– There are suspicious charges on your credit card.

– You are turned down for a loan or credit card unexpectedly.

– Your credit report shows accounts that you have not opened.

– Either federal, your state or local taxing authority alerts you to their receipt of multiple filings in your name.

– You receive a bill for an item or service that you have not purchased … and from a company that you have never done business with.

 

Have you experienced any of the above? If yes, contact a fraud resolution specialist immediately.

Quick Steps for Lost Wallet

Quick Steps for Lost Wallet

You know that flustered feeling when you can’t find your cell phone? Imagine if you had your driver’s license, ATM debit card and your AMEX in a pocket inside your phone. Not only would you have a lost wallet, but you would have a lost cell phone as well. Talk about panic.

There are many reasons why you should not carry every ID you have on you at any given point in time. Your Social Security card … should be in a safe. Your passport should be in there as well. If you own more than one credit card, don’t carry all of them in your wallet at the same time. Your health insurance card? Now, that’s a toss-up.

Before a lost wallet scenario could happen to you:

• Make a detailed list and/or keep photocopies of the contents in your wallet in a safe place (ideally in a home safe or bank lock box). Make sure phone numbers are included for your providers as well so you can swiftly contact your creditors if the moment arises.

What to do if you have a lost or stolen phone, wallet or both:

• Call your bank(s) immediately to report your debit and/or any credit cards as stolen. This is different from canceling or closing your credit cards, which can cause problems with your credit reports. “You’re only responsible for up to $50 in unauthorized purchases if you report a debit card as missing within two business days of the loss. But, if you wait more than two days (but less than 60), you could be on the hook for up to $500 in unauthorized purchases.
• Call your cell phone carrier if your lost wallet also included your phone. Service providers have tracking that can help trace the footsteps of your burglar as well as the ability to shut off any apps, suspend social media accounts and email for the time being.
• File a police report.
• Initiate a fraud alert on your credit report.
• Replace your driver’s license as soon as possible. Every state has different requirements for replacing a license. Some may ask you for a police report number if your ID has been stolen.

• IF your Social Security card was in your wallet (not recommended), contact the Social Security Administration immediately. They can send you a new card but they won’t give you a new number.

• Download a credit report. If you see anything you don’t recognize, call the IRS Identity Protection Unit 800.908.4490.

What types of cards and documents can be replaced?

It can be overwhelming when we think of everything that could be in our wallet. Your driver’s license, debit card, passport, military ID, health insurance card, Medicare/Medicaid, auto insurance card, US Visa or residency card, even retail store cards and any specialized license or driver’s permit all can be replaced, but it takes time.

It’s best to minimize what you carry with you. Our Lost Wallet service assists our Members in quickly and effectively terminating and re-ordering wallet contents. Our services include:

• Identifying missing documents.
• Contacting document issuers while Member is on call (if required by issuer).
• Cancelling of all lost cards and report documents missing.
• Completing the required forms and delivering to subscriber for completion.
• Initiating fraud affidavit and police reports for stolen wallets.
• Additional resolution calls based on the severity of issue, as needed

The Rise in Health Care Fraud

The Rise in Health Care Fraud

Health care data is increasingly becoming a top target for scammers and hackers. A reason why fraudsters may be going after health care data more is because of its longer shelf life and rich potential for identity theft. Financial data has a finite lifespan and loses its worth as soon as the consumer notices the frauds and cancels their accounts or cards. However, health care data contains information that can’t be cancelled or changed as easily as a credit card.

Every year, with the exception of 2015, the number of healthcare data breaches has increased 70%, rising from 199 breaches in 2010 to 344 in 2017.[1] According to a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association, “those breaches have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 176.4 million healthcare records. 75% of those records were exposed or stolen as a result of hacking or IT incidents.” Medical identity theft not only affects the patient (consumer), but has potentially disastrous ramifications on insurance providers as well as the healthcare providers.

What is medical identity theft?

Medical identity theft occurs when a fraudster illegally obtains and uses a patient’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as name, Social Security number, and/or medical insurance identity number, to fraudulently obtain or bill for medical goods or services. This kind of fraud also includes the unauthorized personal gain of insurance benefits, prescription drugs, employment, government benefits, or other financial gain acquired through the theft of another individual’s PII. Hackers have also been known to sell stolen health care records on the black market.[2]

The ten largest data breaches of patient data in 2018 involved email, targeted phishing attacks, and database misconfigurations. The largest health data breach during this same time was caused by a hack on a billing vendor, AccuDoc Solutions. 2.65 million Atrium Health patients were involved in the breach.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is at risk for medical identity theft but seniors are increasingly targeted. Navigating the Medicare system isn’t easy to begin with. When confusion enters the picture, scammers view it as an especially ripe time to take advantage of the ever-growing aging population. Always keep in mind that Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information.[3]

How can you help protect yourself?[4]

  • Review the Explanations of Benefits (EOB) statement or Medicare Summary Notice that your health plan sends after treatment. Immediately report any mistakes or unfamiliar charges, such as a doctor’s visit you did not make or prescriptions that you did not fill.
  • Check in with your doctor(s) to ensure your medical records are accurate. Make sure the records contain your procedures, treatments, prescriptions, and other medical activities. If you notice inaccurate health details such as the wrong blood type, pre-existing conditions, or allergies, it may be a sign that an identity thief has accessed your records.
  • Get a copy of your medical records periodically and keep them in a safe.
  • Do not share your medical or insurance information with other individuals.Especially do not provide your medical information over the phone or via email unless you initiated the contact and have verified the entity you are contacting.
  • Treat your medical identity with the same care and caution you do any of your other sensitive information, such as your financial credentials. Shred health documents you no longer need. Peel the labels off of your prescription bottle and shred them as well.
  • Read the Privacy Policy on a website before you provide your Personally Identifiable Information. Find out why your Social Security number or insurance account numbers may be needed and how the website will keep it safe, or if it will be shared, and if so, with whom. (Websites with “https” in their URL are secure.)

If you are unsure about sharing your personal information with someone who says they are from your health plan—DON’T. Directly contact the Member Services number on your ID card so you can be sure the person is a verified health representative.

Don’t Let Identity Theft Become a Vacation Memory

Don’t Let Identity Theft Become a Vacation Memory

We all look forward to vacations … time off of work, fun with the family, a few days of laziness… but, when we are excited about buying sunscreen and new flip-flops, we need to remember that there are some other ‘things to do’ on our checklist to help keep our family and identities safe.
In addition to finding pet care, remembering your passport and making sure your  lighting is on schedule, there are some pre-, during and post-trip items that you can do to help prevent identity theft from becoming a huge vacation memory.

Just some small preventative measures like updating the operating system and antivirus software on your mobile devices can go a long way toward fending off a few identity thieves.

Before you leave home:

  • Password protect your devices and update operating systems
  • Alert your bank(s) about your travel plans
  • Visit your post office and put your mail on a vacation hold
  • Keep the number of credit cards you travel with to a minimum and have copies of your driver’s license, medical id cards, passports and travel confirmation numbers at home in a safe place
  • Turn off auto-connect Wifi and Bluetooth connections
  • Consider adjusting your social media account settings so posts aren’t tagged with GPS data

While out of town:

  • Avoid using public Wifi and even your hotel’s if at all possible
  • Do not use public computers
  • Keep your travel documents in a hotel safe
  • Log out of websites on your smart phone and any websites if you bring a laptop or other device with you on your trip

Upon your return home:

  • Consider changing passwords for your major accounts
  • Thoroughly go through your account statements for any irregularities
  • Check your credit report to make sure no new accounts were opened in your name while you were away
  • We hope you have a wonderful vacation. Stay safe!