Healthcare Records worth more then your Credit Card

Hacker_laptopOk so if your like me your looking at this thinking what the heck does that title mean. If it scares you, IT SHOULD! If it doesn’t your not paying attention and need to read this!

We all know that there are increasing levels of theft of credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, even tax returns, and now…. you guessed it Healthcare Records.


Back in February of this year Anthem announced that its database was hacked and over 80 million customers may have had there data stolen in the first of what is to be many large leaks in healthcare data. This will become more common until these companies take the data security more seriously and start taking better steps to secure your data

So we all know why bank accounts and cards get stolen, money! Access to your cold hard earned cash. So why are the bad hackers stealing your healthcare info? The answer again MONEY! but how is it worth anything? Who cares that you had a double bypass and are a type 2 diabetic on insulin?! Those hackers care. According to Reuters  Your medical information is worth 10 times more than your credit card number on the black market.

In the world of endless fraud that countless companies have been combating new scams are coming out everyday. Chances are that at some point in your life you were involved in or victimized by some form of identity theft.

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information.  So back to the question what good is it knowing that your have a particular ailment? and the answer is rather disturbing.

Thief’s use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold. They can also combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers.

The worst part here is that the theft often goes un-noticed for years as the type of theft doesn’t get flagged for sometimes as much as 10 or more years giving those thief’s plenty of time to get all they can out of your stolen credentials.

I was stunned to find out how much your information is actually worth and this part made me sick. Your medical credentials are worth $10. That’s it, but when you hack a large medical provider and steal information on 4.5 million patients in one felled swoop, you do the math. Moreover that $10 is 10 to 20 times more then your credit card is worth.

So you should be thinking to yourself “What can I do to prevent these types of attacks from occurring”? The answer here frustrates the hell out of me. The answer is nothing. Your information has been entrusted to another company who is now solely responsible for your information. The problem is that technology is not cheap and moreover the cost of upgrading the infrastructure to better mitigate the risk of data theft is huge and no company likes forking over their money in large quantities and often take the stance that it is more cost effective to be reactive instead of preventive. Who pays the price in the end… You do!

Now there are companies out there that can monitor the information but the way this works is by YOU giving another company all the information that you want protected (to protect your credit card you give them your number etc.) so that if it is compromised they will catch it more quickly and hopefully put a stop to it before the thief does any real damage to your accounts or credibility.

Now don’t get me wrong having one of these companies on your side is better then going it alone. The average effort required to recover from a stolen identity can be upwards of 300 hours of your time and roughly 5 years (if you don’t catch the theft and let it go on unchecked). This is time you must take out of your busy life and it can be very discouraging, that is why you want to have help and having another company actively watching your data means that your information can be recovered more quickly and that less damage will be done.

If you don’t want to fork over all your personal info to yet another company in hopes that they can keep it safe you can take some steps to mitigating the threat. Monitor your credit, check the credit bureau for new accounts, unauthorized and otherwise. You are entitled to one free report from each of the three reporting agencies per year and you would be best served by checking that. Never give out any information to anyone over the phone that you didn’t first initiate the phone call with. Most companies that you have an account with will never ask you to give that out over the phone for ANY reason. If your unsure about whether the company is legitimate tell them you will get right back to them and get a number then research them online, see if there are any other numbers you can call to verify, do they even have a website? Most do and they are here in the states. If they don’t have a web presence or it is seriously lacking I get suspicious and do more checking as a result. Don’t forget the old saying “If it seems to good to be true, it most likely is”. This is a matter of common sense. The best advice is still to USE COMMON SENSE!