In some cases, a consumer can become a victim of identity theft without ever having their credit card data compromised - and the result can be far more dangerous.
With medical identity theft, a victim can have their data stolen from a healthcare institution and then end up being billed for medical debts they never incurred. The chaos inflicted upon one's credit score can be just as bad as what happens with standard identity theft.
However, a more dangerous angle to this particular crime is that people can end up with incorrect information on their medical records if other people end up impersonating them to get free health services. When that happens, they could be at risk of being treated with drugs they are allergic to, have serious medical conditions overlooked, or be treated for conditions they are not actually suffering from.
Some data breaches at hospitals and other large institutions can occur when computer records are carelessly disposed of. In other cases, hackers can access a database to steal information like Social Security numbers and other details.
However, a report in the Houston Press recently featured another method used by identity thieves and which illustrates how important it is to safeguard one's personal information. In that case, a former hospital worker was reportedly sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing patients' identities of their paper fact sheets while she was working as a nurse.