Location: Scotts Valley, CA, United States

Monday, November 15, 2010

Patient Billed for Phony Liposuction as Medical ID Theft Rises

(Bloomberg) -- Sierra Morgan was billed $12,000 on her health-care credit card in November for liposuction, a procedure she never requested or had.

“It’s depressing to know that someone used my name and knows so much about me,” said the 31-year-old respiratory therapist from Modesto, California.

There were more than 275,000 cases in the U.S. last year of medical information theft, twice the number in 2008, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, a Pleasanton, California-based market research firm. The average fraud cost $12,100, Javelin said.

“A trend we’ve seen over the past few years is using stolen information to file false claims,” said Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the Washington-based National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, a non-profit research group.

Criminals set up fake clinics to bill for phony treatments, said Pam Dixon, founder of the World Privacy Forum, a non-profit consumer-research group based in San Diego, California, which has worked with more than 3,000 victims. Thieves also may impersonate a patient, like in Morgan’s case, and some medical workers download records to sell, she said.

Read More at: Bloomberg Business Week:


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