NEW YORK (MainStreet) Consumer advocates are warning Americans to be wary of medical identification theft in advance of Oct. 1, when the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins.
The consumer scam alert website Fraud.org says con artists are prepping, too, for the official opening of Obamacare. "At Fraud.org, we are concerned that it's going to only get worse as state and federal health insurance exchanges come online this fall," the organization says in a press release. "Consumer confusion over Obamacare is one of the driving factors in these scams."
Analysts at the data security firm IdentityTheft911 agree, noting that medical ID theft can lead not only to medical bills and false insurance claims, but that when medical records are tainted with false history and diagnoses, critical treatment can be delayed and the wrong medications prescribed with dangerous consequences.
That's why it's so important to be on the lookout for medical identity theft, especially in light of the pending system changes, says Adam Levin, chairman of IdentityTheft 911. To help consumers avoid being victimized, he's offering the following tips:
Check your medical bills. Levin says medical bills and insurance statements may contain important signs you are a victim of medical identity theft. "Open and carefully review each medical document you receive, checking the itemized costs," he says. "If something looks suspicious, investigate by calling right away."