Criminal Medical Identity Theft: A Tornado of a Different Kind

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Many victims of identity theft are overwhelmed by the amount of damage their identity thief has done. Just when they think they have cleared up one problem another will surface and it will seem that every aspect of their life is affected in one way or another. Even within each type of identity theft (financial, criminal and medical) there are further distinctions, each with its own havoc wreaking consequences. Read on here to learn more about criminal medical identity theft.

An example of criminal medical identity theft is that of a woman who gave birth to a crack-addicted baby and fled from the hospital. This woman had used the name of another person. The police arrested the second woman (victim) and Child Protective Services took her children.  She had to prove she had NOT just given birth. She was cleared and her children returned later that day.

Another way that people are often aware that they are victims of criminal medical identity theft is the overuse of prescriptions for medications that can double as street drugs. Some victims go to the pharmacy to pick up their medication only to find they are unable to do so because someone else has already filled too many prescriptions for narcotic pharmaceuticals in their name.

A victim of criminal medical identity theft does have the opportunity to clear their name and their record by following the below steps:

  • Attempt to determine fully the situation or events that are creating the possible charges against you.
  • Where did the events happen?
  • Ask what proof they have that this person is you. For instance, you can show that your height, weight, skin color, age, blood type or sex is not the same as the “patient.”
  • Ask when service was provided. You might be able to prove you were somewhere else during that period.
  • What service was provided? If surgery was done or there is a condition diagnosed, you can show you don’t have a scar or that condition. For instance, the woman in the example above had an exam to prove she had not just given birth.
  • Provide to law enforcement any and all proof to show that you are not the individual that was involved.
  • Once it is determined that you were not the person they are looking for, get a letter of clearance. Keep that letter in a safe place forever.  Also, make sure any criminal charges that were made are dropped at the local level. If they also forwarded them to the state level, ask to have those charges dropped as well. If possible, have the local prosecuting attorney switch any and all warrants from your identity to “Jane/John Doe.” It is important to get your name off the base warrant, so that you are not re-arrested, nor lose future employment.
  • Additionally, make sure that any financial responsibilities have been removed from your name and Social Security number.

While every type of identity theft is incredibly difficult to clear up, medical identity theft is often the hardest due to medical privacy laws.  However, with persistence and some good advice, like that above, victims can return their lives to normalcy.

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Nikki Junker

Nikki Junker is Social Media Coordinator and Victim Advisor at The Identity Theft Resource Center. She specializes in Identity Theft on social networks and smartphones. She enjoys working one on one with victims of identity theft as well as researching and writing about preventative measures for consumers.