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Survey: Many Victims Aren't Reporting Medical ID Theft

Theft of a person’s medical information is a growing and increasingly costly crime trend. Despite the risks it poses — including financial losses and compromised healthcare services — many victims do not report the crime or take additional steps to protect their privacy, according to a recent survey. That makes it even more important for health workers to safeguard patient information.

The survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by credit reporting firm Experian, found that only 50 percent of the 718 medical identity theft victims interviewed took action after discovering the crime. When asked why they did not report the crime to authorities, many respondents said they weren’t harmed by the crime and didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, despite the risks medical ID theft can have.

“Our study shows that risk and high cost of medical identity theft are not resonating with the public,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “These results put an even greater onus on healthcare organizations to make the security of sensitive personal health information a priority in order to protect patient privacy.”

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