It seems like almost every day a new healthcare agency, facility, or network is reporting a data breach.
A lot of it may have to do with the fact that many healthcare organizations have outdated IT systems and lack focus and investment in cybersecurity tools. There’s also employee error, which can inadvertently open up the flood gates to hackers. All of this, combined with the treasure trove of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), known in the industry as Protected or “Personal” Health Information (PHI), on their networks, makes healthcare providers an appealing target. In addition, a successful breach can generate millions of dollars for cybercriminals on the Dark Web.
One of the fastest-growing and most malicious forms of fraud is Medical Identity Theft. Medical identities are 20 to 50 times more valuable than financial identities due to the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. In fact, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) can sell for as much as $1,000 on the black market. Compare that to the going rate for Social Security numbers – about 10 cents each.
There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has been a victim of a healthcare data breach. In 2019 alone, the medical and healthcare industry exposed over 39 million sensitive records over the course of 525 breaches, a 270% increase since 2018 according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Below is a look at a few of the worst healthcare data breaches in the first half of 2020 and in 2019:
- Magellan Health – 365,000 records (May 2020)
- Ambry Genetics –233,000 records (April 2020)
- Beaumont Health – 112,000 records (April 2020)
- Health Share of Oregon – 654,000 records (February 2020)
- Providence Health Plan – 122, records (September 2019)
- Presbyterian Healthcare Services – 183,000 records (August 2019)
- Opko Health – 422,600 records (June 2019)
- LabCorp – 7.7 million records (June 2019)
- Quest Diagnostics – 12 million records (June 2019)
- Inmediata Health Group – 1.5 million records (May 2019)
- Zoll Medical – 277,319 records (March 2019)
- UW Medicine – 1 million records (February 2019)
Resources to Stay Protected from Healthcare Data Breaches
If you work in the healthcare industry or if you think you’ve been a victim of a medical record data breach, here are some resources for you to use personally and share with your colleagues.
- Overcoming the Path of Data Breach Disruption During COVID-19 (Infographic)
- 2020 Data Breaches
- COVID-19 Top Digital Scams
- COVID-19 Scams & the Remote Workforce
- 8 Ways We Protect Your Employees Identity and Financial Profile
- Password Strength Test
- Medical ID Theft Checklist
- 10 Tips for 2020 Data Breach Victims (Infographic)
- Risky Business: Data Breach Impact on Your Organization & Employees (Whitepaper)
Tips to Protect Against Medical Identity Theft
- Never share personal information through unsolicited phone calls. Remind your loved ones that they should never give personal, financial, or medical information over the phone.
- Keep Important Document Secure. Store copies of medical records and insurance cards in a secure place. Never provide medical information over the phone or by email and always shred outdated information.
- Monitor Your Insurance Benefits: Once a year you should request a list of benefits paid under your policy from your insurer.
- Monitor Your Credit Report: Unpaid medical bills could affect your credit.
Continue following Fighting Identity Crimes to get the latest breach and scam updates, ID protection news & tips from our industry experts!
Follow us on social!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.