Medical identity theft occurs when someone steals your Social Security number or insurance information from a medical provider who you have seen. The thief may then try to apply for a credit card in your name or for health benefits claiming he or she is you.

What can hospitals and doctors’ offices do to prevent medical identity theft?

Medical institutions could make things a lot easier on honest patients–and themselves–simply by asking for a photo ID, along with an insurance card, said Linda Foley, executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, Calif.

How can you protect yourself from medical identity theft?

Until, medical institutions start following that procedure, you, as a patient, can follow these suggestions to prevent medical identity theft:
Be proactive. When you go to your doctor’s office, get a copy of your full medical record. After medical identity theft is committed it can be very difficult to obtain an accurate one.
Choose your doctor’s office, and the front office staff, carefully. It can make a big difference in preventing medical identity theft.