Benefits Blog: Dealing with Identify Theft

The very act of conducting business in the modern world by necessity includes collecting and holding personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and the like about customers, employees and business partners.

Should this information fall into the wrong hands, it could put these individuals at risk for identity theft.

Medical identity theft is a growing concern for individuals and employers, as well, with more than 2.3 million Americans becoming victims annually.  This represents an average loss of more than $22,000 per incident in terms of lost employee productivity and through the fraudulent overuse of health plan benefits.

The financial impact of medical identity theft can include lost money, unpaid bills, collection agency letters, and tarnished credit reports. Finding and correcting records can be a lengthy process, often taking as long as a year to complete.

The messy consequences of inaccurate medical records and insurance claims can be both a time-consuming nuisance as well as a threat to the victim’s health. The medical repercussions for medical identity theft victims can include misdiagnosis, conflicting prescriptions, missed symptoms and other harmful consequences.

If personal information – whether of a medical nature or not – becomes comprised, it can easily and quickly result in meaningful harm to a person or business.  If identity theft is suspected, call your local police department immediately.  If your local police department is not familiar with investigating information compromises, contact the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Secret Service. For incidents involving mail theft, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

If account access information (credit card or bank account numbers) has been stolen and you do not maintain the accounts, notify the institutions that do so that they can monitor these accounts for fraudulent activity.  If you collect or store personal information for other businesses, notify them of any information compromises immediately.  If the information involved the improper posting of personal information on your website, immediately remove the information and contact the appropriate search engines to ensure that they do not archive personal information that was posted in error.

If names and Social Security numbers have been stolen, contact the three major credit bureaus for additional information and advice. When calling, advise the credit bureau that you will also be alerting the affected parties to place a fraud alert on their files.

For more information on how to protect your business from potential security breaches, contact The Reschini Group.  We have additional risk management tools to assist you in handling identity theft.

Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.