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You know the importance of getting annual checkups on your health, but a check-up on your medical records is just as valuable. When it comes to protecting yourself from identity theft, a regular look into your statements and records can go a long way in keeping your personal information safe. Prevent medical identity theft by learning how to detect, correct and protect your medical records with these simple steps.

Detecting Medical Errors

While it may seem tedious, thoroughly reading your medical records and insurance statements on a regular basis will help you quickly spot any glaring errors or unusual charges, which are often the first signs of medical identity theft. Double-check your healthcare provider, dates of services and the type of services provided. Make sure that any claim you are billed for corresponds with the actual services you received. Additional clues that you may be a victim of medical identity theft are receiving bills for services you never received, medical debt collection calls or notices for care you do not owe and being denied insurance benefits due to a condition you do not suffer from.

Correcting Medical Errors

Should you spot an error in your medical records, immediately contact your health plan provider to report the mistake. Ask to receive a copy of your medical records so that you can begin to scan them for additional errors. If you suspect an identity thief has used your information, reach out to any doctor, pharmacy and hospital that you think may have been affected. In writing, provide corrections of inaccurate information along with copies of any documents and statements that reinforce these errors. Never give away your original documents.

You will also want to request copies of “accounting of disclosures” from your health care providers and medical plans. This document is a record of who may have received copies of your medical information from your providers. You are entitled to a free copy each year from every one of your providers, so don’t pass up the opportunity to review your records at no charge.

Protecting Medical Records

Never share medical or insurance details with anyone over the phone or via email. Many medical identity thieves scam under the guise of insurance company employees, doctors’ offices or pharmacies in order to gain access into your personal medical records. If you aren’t careful, you can easily be tricked into providing sensitive details, such as prescription information, medical statements and insurance forms. When it comes to keeping your medical records secure, you can never be too cautious.

Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where she works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for AXS.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

For more information, visit CBS Philly’s Identity Theft section