Opinion

Businesses of all types need to protect data

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The computer data breaches with retailers such as Tar­get, Neiman Marcus and Michaels have gotten plenty of head­lines.

But our private information is vul­nerable in many places beyond the checkout line.

The Identity Theft Resource Cen­ter reported 619 data breaches for 2013, up 30 percent from the number in 2012. For the first time since the center began tracking these prob­lems in 2005, the health-care sec­tor reported the largest number of incidents, accounting for 43 percent of the breaches, compared with 33 percent from businesses.

Certainly one of the reasons is that health-care organizations often face mandatory reporting requirements.

But another reason is that our “medical identity” — name, Social Security number and health insur­ance number — can have so many lucrative uses.

For example, an Ohio dental office employee accessed protected Med­icaid patient information to then illegally obtain prescription drugs, according to a recent report by the Stateline News Service. Using anoth­er angle, a Massachusetts psychia­trist used records to create false diag­noses and submit medical insurance claims for people he never treated.

In some cases, people stole medical identities to receive treatment.

“Medical identity theft is a grow­ing and dangerous crime that leaves its victims with little to no recourse for recovery,” Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum told Stateline…

Click here for more.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter