Athens orthopedic clinic won’t provide credit monitoring to victims after a hacker stole the medical records of 200,000 patients.
ZDNet reports that Athens Orthopedic Clinic CEO Kayo Elliott said in a statement. “We truly regret that we are unable to do so, as we are not able spend the many millions of dollars it would cost us to pay for credit monitoring for nearly 200,000 patients and keep Athens Orthopedic as a viable business. I recognize and am truly sorry for the position this puts our patients in.”
Where does that leave patients? The hackers will likely sell their personal and confidential information on the dark net where crooks will use it for identity theft. What can you do to protect yourself in case your medical provider has a breach? You should start by notifying the credit reporting agencies and request that they put a fraud alert on your credit files. These last for 90 days but are renewable on request. Basic free credit monitoring is available from the password manager service Lastpass. They’ll provide free credit monitoring even if you only sign up for a free Lastpass account. Credit monitoring services can’t prevent thieves from opening fraudulent accounts in your name, but they can notify you when new credit accounts are opened. You’ll want to know crooks opened a fraudulent account as soon as possible so you can report it. The quicker you can shut down the fraudulent activity the easier it will be to clean up your credit report
A better solution is to put a freeze on your credit. There is a small fee to do this but the freeze is permanent unless you remove it. However, you’ll again be charged a small fee to remove it. I’d consider that a small price to pay to avoid cost and the hassle of cleaning up a damaged credit report.
Credit reports are just one aspect to consider about identity theft. There’s also a risk of medical identity theft. If someone else uses your identity to get medical care, their records are mixed with yours and that could lead to mistakes in your medical treatment in future.
What happens if someone impersonating you commits a crime? In many states, you can obtain an identity theft passport that may prevent you from being arrested for the crimes of the thief. The non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center has a resource page with links to information on the rights of identity theft victims under state laws.
Like some one-on-one help? The Identity Theft Resource Center provides a toll free hotline you can call and get help at no cost.