Medical identity theft is difficult to identify and mitigate because it is not discovered quickly, and often involves inside access by employees at healthcare facilities — a key reason for healthcare Notaries to protect their records from unauthorized access by co-workers in the workplace. Healthcare Notaries can help prevent medical ID theft by making sure all information in their journals is kept private, and not visible to uninvolved parties. Also, take care to secure your journal under lock and key when not in use, and take all necessary steps to prevent unauthorized access. Be sure to abide by all HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules, enacted by Congress in 1996, especially as they relate to securing electronic records in your office. Approximately 250,000 people are victims of medical identity theft each year in the United States. Unlike other kinds of ID theft — where a person’s information is taken from lost or stolen documents or public sources — medical ID theft often involves insiders that sell patient information, which is then used by an impostor to obtain medical services under an assumed identity. Key points Don't share passwords or other access controls to patient databases. Keep your journal information private. Secure your journal when not in use. Follow HIPAA rules. Additional resources The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Medical privacy fact sheet and information David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.