Clark Howard: Prevent identity theft at medical offices

View mobile site

View mobile site

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 10:12 a.m.

Powered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Bargain Hunter

Posted: 9:00 a.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014

Related

Clark Howard photo

By Clark Howard

The Identity Theft Resource Center reports almost half of all identity theft now is happening at medical providers. But there is a way to protect yourself.

There are many reasons why medical identity theft is running rampant. High turnover in the back offices and too much paperwork floating around are chief among them. The scary reality is that one errant employee can steal the identities of hundreds if not thousands of people. Without question, this is the fastest growing area of identity theft.

So what can you do? Is this just another problem without a solution? No way.

Here’s my advice: Don’t fill in your Social Security number on any medical paperwork when you first go to a doctor. The only reason they want it is that so if you don’t pay, it’s easier to turn you over to a collection agency.

This is such an Achilles heel for identity theft. Don’t fill that number in. You won’t have ironclad protection, but it’s a good start.

Here are some additional tips to keep you out of harm’s way:

  • Use a shredder for papers that contain financial info before recycling. I’ve had many listeners suggests you should mix up your shredded financial papers with a dirty diaper if you have young kids. That will definitely deter an identity thief any day of the week!
  • Use OptOutPreScreen.com to remove your name from the mailing list of the credit card companies. That way you won’t get the credit card apps that are so central for identity thieves. With OptOptPreScreen.com, you will have to disclose your Social Security number because that’s how the credit bureaus build a dossier on you.
  • Finally, freeze your credit if you’re really concerned about limiting any damage from possible identity theft.

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website.

— Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Follow Atlanta Bargain Hunter Nedra Rhone on Facebook | Twitter | Email

My YahooRSS

Today on MyAJC.com

MyAJC top 5 in Five Minutes: May 15, 2014

Photos: MyAJC’s top 5 in Five Minutes — May 15, 2014

Deal flies state to sign new laws

Deal flies state to sign new laws

Comments  (5)  

Georgia State: Downtown Atlanta’s white knight

Georgia State: Downtown Atlanta’s white knight

Try us: Get full access to MyAJC and Today's Paper online for 99 cents

AJC Day Pass

“, “id”: “writecapture75243822”, “widget_prototype”: “writecapture_widget”});

Top news now from the AJC

Jim Donnan on trial

Jury that will decide Donnan’s fate reconvenes

“, “id”: “writecapture64262554”, “widget_prototype”: “writecapture_widget”});

© 2014 Cox Media Group. By using this website,
you accept the terms of our Visitor Agreement and Privacy Policy, and understand your options regarding Ad ChoicesAdChoices.
Learn about careers at Cox Media Group

View mobile site

View mobile site

Enterprise Feedback Management
Survey Software

Select a display name and password

Already have an account? Sign In

{* #registrationForm *}
{* traditionalRegistration_displayName *}
{* traditionalRegistration_emailAddress *}
{* traditionalRegistration_password *}
{* traditionalRegistration_passwordConfirm *}

Tell us about yourself

{* registration_firstName *}
{* registration_lastName *}
{* registration_postalZip *}
{* registration_birthday *}
{* registration_gender *}

{* agreeToTerms *}

{* /registrationForm *}

Already have an account? Sign In

{* #registrationFormBlank *}
{* registration_firstName *}
{* registration_lastName *}
{* traditionalRegistration_displayName *}
{* traditionalRegistration_emailAddressBlank *}
{* registration_birthday *}
{* registration_gender *}
{* registration_postalZip *}
{* traditionalRegistration_passwordBlank *}
{* traditionalRegistration_passwordConfirmBlank *}

{* agreeToTerms *}

{* /registrationForm *}

We have sent you a confirmation email. Please check your email and click on the link to activate your account.

We look forward to seeing you frequently. Visit us and sign in to update your profile, receive the latest news and keep up to date with mobile alerts.

Don’t worry, it happens. We’ll send you a link to create a new password.

{* #forgotPasswordForm *}
{* forgotPassword_emailAddress *}

{* /forgotPasswordForm *}

We have sent you an email with a link to change your password.

We’ve sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed.

To sign in you must verify your email address. Fill out the form below and we’ll send you an email to verify.

{* #resendVerificationForm *}
{* resendVerification_emailAddress *}

{* /resendVerificationForm *}

Check your email for a link to verify your email address.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2014/may/15/clark-howard-prevent-identity-theft-medical-office/

Technorati Tags: ,

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply