In recent years, many medical identity theft cases have been reported, including the illegal use of services of the healthcare providers that have cost both individuals and the state. Your medical information contains your name, personal contact information, social security number, and more that can be easily used to open a bank account, that’s why it’s crucial to keep your medical information safe from scammers and hackers. Although HIPAA compliance is mandatory for health organizations to help protect your data, you also need to be vigilant with how you use your medical information. Therefore, this guide will explain to you ways to keep your medical information protected from the hands of perpetrators.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Whether you have to access your healthcare portal or share your medical documents with your doctor when away from home, using public Wi-Fi may seem like an “ideal” option to you at that moment, however, it may have major consequences down the line.
Most of the time, hackers are waiting for someone to access the public network and as soon as someone connects to it, they extract information to their own advantage, and your sensitive medical information is one of them.
Although you should avoid using public networks, otherwise you should always consider using a VPN (virtual private network) which can keep you completely safe from hackers as they won’t be able to access your device.
Prioritize Your Passwords
It’s easy to set a strong 11-character password and then forget about ever changing it. Additionally, most people use the same password such as their birthday or their child’s name for all the accounts and this exposes you more to the cyber risk as one password gives the hackers access to all your accounts, which may contain private information including your healthcare portal.
Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you keep changing your passwords after every three months and ensure you set a unique and strong password so no one is able to guess it.
Never Hand Over Your Medical Information to a Stranger
It may sound like a cliché, but there have been many cases where the sensitive medical information of a patient was leaked via the internet by themselves. It’s quite common for people to Google their symptoms and as soon as they reach a certain website, they have the option to chat with a “medical professional”.
It is also usual for people to send their medical information to the social media profiles of “doctors”. All of this ends up in the hands of scammers, hence, you should think twice before sharing your information with a stranger on the internet and always visit your health care provider to rule out your medical condition.
Shred Your Medical Documents before Disposing
As your medical documents contain confidential information, you should properly shred them before throwing them in the bin. Otherwise, it’s quite convenient for anyone to use your information to their advantage, which may be detrimental to your health and finances.
Just in case someone took hold of your medical information, it’s vital to quickly inform your health insurance and medical care providers, so they can take necessary action before the situation gets out of hand.