How Can You Protect Your Medical Information on the Web?

How Can You Protect Your Medical Information on the Web?

To protect medical information on the Web, always find out why a website requires sensitive information and if the site keeps the users' information safe before providing personal information, suggests the Federal Trade Commission. Also check if the browser’s status bar has a lock icon.

Be careful of giving out information to websites that ask for Social Security number, health information or insurance account numbers, and always read the Privacy Policy of a website, says the FTC. When sharing information online, check if the Web address starts with "https:" where the "s" indicates that the site is secure.

Avoid sharing medical information by email or phone without knowing exactly the identity of the other person, notes the FTC. Be cautious of people who offer health products or services for free. Medical identity thieves often ask for a person’s health plan ID number and claim that they work for a pharmacy, doctor’s clinic or insurance company. Shred old medical or health records, such as prescriptions and physician statements, before discarding them.

Medical identity thieves typically use an individual’s name or health insurance information to consult a doctor, obtain prescription drugs or file claims with an insurance company, states the FTC. If you suspect medical identity theft, ask for copies of your medical records immediately, find out if there are errors, and have the errors corrected as necessary.

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