Medical identity theft is the fastest growing form of ID theft, says an official at the University of Arizona Medical Center.
If it happens to you, your finances could be damaged, and it could lead to someone else's health information going into your medical records.
Hospitals, insurance companies and other medical institutions are working to prevent this type of fraud, says UMC's Brett Behan, director of quality.
When a case of medical ID theft is discovered, "we launch a full investigation that is done internally and we will also contact law enforcement as needed," Behan says.
Medical identity theft often occurs when someone who is uninsured attempts to use a family member's insurance card. Sometimes, however, people may not know their medical identity has been stolen. That identity may be used to pay for expensive medical procedures or even to buy prescription drugs, Behan said.
Experts say that, to protect yourself, you should check all medical bills and insurance claims statements carefully to make sure they are accurate. Use secure sites such as GoPHR, the Global Online Personal Health Resource, which can store and track medical records on secure, remote servers and shred any documents you do not plan to keep.