In a very interesting article titled Why Gang Members Want Your Identity Fox Business News reporter Kate Rogers examines a disturbing trend of stealing electronic patient records and using them to commit crimes. They want your social security number and address and then they can use them to submit phony tax returns!
My CPA told me that many of his long-time clients file their carefully prepared returns and IRS writes back to say they were already submitted!
Detective Craig Catlin of North Miami Beach Police called it an ‘epidemic’ among city gangs. He said, “Every gang member is doing this, it’s a business to them – they’re doing burglaries and having other members commit the fraud”.
As a medical professional – why should you care? Because gang leaders are having their girlfriends get jobs at physician offices and hospitals, and they stay for one day or one week, just long enough to steal all the medical records. Then they have a ‘Tax Party’ and file hundreds of false tax returns! They can make $50,000 in one evening. They just need the records.
How to prevent this from happening to you, which, of course, would also result in a HIPAA fine of up to $1,500,000 dollars, is to be very strict with background checks and be very wary of unsolicited job seekers.
Additionally, having active, and online monitoring in effect will send out a warning to new individuals that their every keystroke is tracked and watched. Of course, banning zip drives and using encryption are also strong controls to add.
Walk through your office today – count the tattoos and draw your own conclusions.