Patient Billed for Phony Liposuction as Medical ID Theft Rises

Margaret Collins reports on medical ID theft:

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.


Medical identity theft is about 2.5 times more costly than other types of ID frauds, said James Van Dyke, president of Javelin, in part because criminals use stolen health data an average of four times longer than other identity crimes before the theft is caught. The average fraud involving health information was $12,100 compared with $4,841 for all identity crimes last year and consumers spent an average of $2,228 to resolve it, or six times more than other identity fraud, according to Javelin.

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