A few days ago officials at a Jacksonville, Florida hospital, the Shands Brentwood Primary Care Center warned more than a thousand patients that they are in danger of identity theft due to the stealing of their personal information by an employee at the hospital. An investigation discovered that health records including the names, addresses, Social security numbers, dates of birth service locations and medical record numbers of 1,025 patients had been stolen by a former employee. This information puts these patients in serious danger of identity theft and, in some cases, may already have been used to file false income tax returns. In addition, the victims are also in danger of the serious risks that come with medical identity theft where someone’s medical insurance information is used to provide medical services to someone else. This can result in a contaminating of the medical records of the identity theft victim, such that false medical information about the patient may appear on his or her records with the risk of receiving improper care, such as a blood transfusion of the wrong blood type.
This case once again highlights that no matter how well you protect your personal information, your security is only as strong as the security in the weakest place that holds your information. Whenever you provide personal information to anyone, company or agency you should inquire as to what security precautions they take to preserve the privacy and security of your information. It also illustrates the importance of being proactive in preventing harm from identity theft by taking actions such as having a credit freeze on your credit report. Information about credit freezes, income tax identity theft and medical identity theft can be found elsewhere in this blog and also in more detail in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which can be purchased from Amazon by merely clicking on the link on this blog.