Medical Identity Theft is on the Rise - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Medical Identity Theft is on the Rise

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There's another kind of identity theft on the rise in Illinois.

Medical Identity Theft.

It's the act of stealing someone's personal information to obtain medical services, insurance, or prescription drugs.

According to Ryan Lewis, the information security officer for Hospital Sisters Health System, "There were over 16 million Americans that had their identity stolen last year alone."

He say many of those Americans live in Illinois.

"Right now Illinois ranks about number 10 in terms of identity stolen per capita."

The crime is increasing.

"Over the last 5 years we've seen a growth of anywhere from 6 to 8 percent every year," said Lewis.

He says perpetrators are getting more and more creative.

"Looking through someone's trash. A lot of time's you're going to get EOBs from your insurance and a lot of times people don't keep those, they just throw them away."

Dale Colee, co-owner of Dale's Southlake Pharmacy, says sometimes it's a game of phone tag.

"Where they've had someone call them and ask them their personal information saying they had a prescription filled and they needed some more follow up information," said Colee.

Colee says medical identity theft can be prevented.

"Make sure that all the sites that you have username and passwords for, that you have a strong password. Never give your social security number over the phone. Monitor your health insurance EOBs online."

Posting medications you take or your current illness on Facebook and Twitter is also becoming an easy portal for thieves.

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