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Hackers target your doctor and your medical records

Hackers target your doctor and your medical records
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

We all know that retail hacks like the Target fiasco can expose your data to hackers, but that's not the only place where your information is at risk. The doctor's office and your insurance company could also be putting your personal information in danger. A new study shows that over the past four years, nearly 30 million medical records were exposed due to hacks, theft and other data security issues.

Compromised information included patients' names, home addresses, ages, illnesses, test results or Social Security numbers. Most involved electronic data and theft, including stolen laptops and computer thumb drives.

Millions of patients had their information exposed during hacks at insurance companies like Anthem. The study also showed that customer data can be lost through the theft of computers and other gadgets used to the store the information. Simple clerical mistakes are also an issue.

Cases that didn't involve malicious intent included private health information being inadvertently mailed to the wrong patient.

Patients also need to watch out for phishing emails that claim to be from medical care providers or insurance companies that ask for personal information or log in credentials. If you think an email you receive might not be legitimate, contact your doctor or insurance company to make sure it's real before submitting information.

Next page: Find out how these breaches affect your healthcare
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