If your eyes glaze over when you read about another hospital ransomware attack or data breach, we understand. They're so commonplace these days that it's almost too much information to take in.
However, there is one type of medical hack that could put your family's life in danger, or ruin it. It's called medical identity theft, and you may have never thought about it, or even heard about it.
Here's how it works: A hacker steals your medical records. Then, they use your identity to get prescriptions filled for themselves, but in your name.
There have already been reports of dire consequences of this type of ID theft. One mother, for instance, nearly had her children taken away when it was reported she'd given birth to a drug-addicted baby. This woman, who had children, had her medical ID stolen from a drug addict who had just given birth.
You can imagine the trouble you'd run into if someone was abusively getting prescriptions filled in your name. What if you needed medication to treat cancer and your hospital said you couldn't get it?
That's an all-too real possibility. "The danger from this type of crime comes when your medical records become permanently combined with the medical treatments that another individual received in your name," according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
"The end result can be horrifying. You receive the wrong medication in the emergency room for a condition you don't have, or you're denied a specific life-saving treatment because it isn't compatible with the records associated with the fraudulent user's care."
Unbelievably, privacy laws can work against you. You may not be able to get access to your own medical records if someone else is using your ID.
Unfortunately, your ID is not safe at hospitals and medical centers. We've been telling you about a slew of recent ransomware hacks that have prevented hospital staff from accessing medical records, until they pay the hackers. It's becoming commonplace, but it's probably just getting started.