Experts advise consumers to shred sensitive documents and protect their personal data. But in addition to the threat of individual identity thieves, health care providers are making news for failing to safeguard patient records from would-be crooks.
Hospital Data Breach Impacts 82K Patients
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in Florida has reported its third data breach in two years — this one affecting 82,601 people, Local 10 reports.
The breach spans nearly two years — from Sept. 13, 2012 to June 9, 2014. The previous breach ended Sept. 14, 2012 and affected 2,560 patients.
Officials say this latest breach could be the work of an employee. The data included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers but no financial or health information.
One patient reported that a false tax refund was filed in her name. Authorities are continuing the investigation.
Thousands of VA Patient Records Left in Public Bathroom
Albuquerque Veterans Affairs Hospital notified 2,600 veterans that their names and Social Security numbers were found in one of the hospital's public restrooms, KOAT reports.
The folder was found July 30, but KOAT reports that veterans were notified by mail months later. VA officials say no one has reported identity theft or fraud and that the person who misplaced the folder has resigned.
The VA is offering victims free credit monitoring services for a year.
Hundreds Affected by Tampa Hospital Data Breach
The personal data of at least 675 patients has been stolen from Tampa General Hospital, according to Fox Tampa Bay.
Patients scheduled for surgical procedures between Oct. 3, 2011 and Aug. 7, 2014 were affected by the breach, which included names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, diagnoses and insurance information.
The Tampa Police Department discovered the breach when they found four patient cover sheets during an arrest. While the person arrested didn't work for the hospital, Tampa General tracked the missing data to an employee who had been with the hospital in a non-clinical role since 2007.
Authorities are still investigating.
California Man Owes $50K for Using Fake ID for ER Visits
A California man was ordered to serve 7 months in jail and pay about $50,000 in restitution for using a false identity at a hospital emergency room, The Californian reports.
Demitre Rosario was also given five years of felony probation and will be subject to search and seizure because of the identity theft and insurance fraud conviction.
Authorities say each time Rosario visited the ER he obtained narcotics. While the defendant was receiving treatment from one doctor, another doctor recognized Rosario and alerted officials.
Restitution to Premier Insurance, Blue Shield, CHOMP and the two people whose identity Rosario used totals approximately $50,000.