Sunday, December 25, 2005

Identity theft of hospital patients and the recently deceased

The Red Tape Chronicles from recently ran an article on identity theft that is connected to hospital stays and what patients can do to protect themselves. The article itself is interesting, but there are dozens of comments that are equally iluminating:

Hospital ID theft: How to protect yourself - The Red Tape Chronicles -

Stories of nurses, patients, and visitors stealing identities from the sick can be ripped from the headlines across America, like the story of a nurse in a Philadelphia hospital who gave terminally ill patients' identities to a crime ring. They drained the patients' accounts and obtained $10 million in fraudulent mortgages using the stolen personal information.

"They’re like vultures. You wonder how people can be so horrible," said Mari Frank, an ID theft victim lawyer and author of two books on the subject. "They think, 'Who cares, he's going to die anyway.' "

It's hard to imagine, particularly if you trust your doctor and your hospital. But do you trust the patient across the hallway? And all his visitors? The grim reality is, identity theft is a peril for hospital patients, another concern sick and dying people, and their families, must put on their checklists.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect the privacy of people you love while they’re recovering in the hospital....

Thanks to Privacy Digest for the link.

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