This entry is part 19 of 26 in the series HIPAA Privacy-Security Reminders

Medical Identity Theft  and Identity Theft are criminal acts that occurs when a person uses someone else’s personal information, such as name, social security number and/or insurance card number, without that individual’s knowledge to obtain or make false claims for (medical) services or goods.   Learn more about what you and your company should  be doing…to protect yourself and your stakeholders…

How can you protect yourself against ID theft?

For an identity thief to be successful, he or she must first have access to your personal information. An important step in protecting yourself from identity theft is to limit that access.

In a recent post, we covered how to avoid medical identity theft.  In this post, we cover the more general subject of avoiding identity theft.

You should also be mindful of the tips for follow when you are entrusted with others’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI).

For information on protecting yourself against identity theft, refer to the following tips:

  • Never simply throw away bills or correspondence containing your Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit card numbers, health insurance numbers, or any other financial or personal information. Many identity thieves are simply dumpster divers where they rummage through trash looking for personally identifiable data.
  • Use of a shredder is highly recommended. Of course, exercise the same caution when disposing of university-owned personally identifiable data. Remember to shred the return envelope as well.
  • Never provide your personal information over the phone to telemarketers or other unverifiable callers.
  • Be wary of phishing schemes (fraudulent emails asking for your information).
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, and only carry those credit and debit cards that you use frequently.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year, and inspect it for inaccuracies.
  • Protect your computer and online credentials.
  • Exercise caution posting your personally identifiable data online, particularly on social networking sites.

NOTE: While there are no guarantees, following these tips will help reduce your exposure to potential Identity theft.  For more tips on preventing identity theft and what to do if you believe you have become a victim, go to theFederal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Website.

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The complete HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach regulations are here.

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Bob Chaput

CEO at Clearwater Compliance
Bob is the CEO and Founder of Clearwater Compliance. He has 25 years of experience in the Healthcare industry, and his experience includes managing some of the world’s largest HR, benefits and healthcare databases, requiring the highest levels of security and privacy. Mr. Chaput continues to expand and update his knowledge base on HIPAA-HITECH compliance through postgraduate study, earning professional certifications and participating in professional healthcare and other organizations.