Americans are increasingly victimized by medical identity theft schemes, according to a new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a private research firm.
Researchers estimate that more than two million U.S. residents were the victims of medical identity theft in 2014, an increase of nearly 22 percent, or half a million people, from 2013.
Medical identity theft occurs when an unauthorized person uses another's name or identification to receive medical services or pharmaceuticals. The findings are based on a survey of 1,005 patients from across the country.
“Sixty-five percent of respondents in this study spent some amount of money as a result of the medical identity theft. The average cost for those who had to pay was $13,453.38,” researchers wrote.
In the five years since the annual survey began, the number of medical identity theft incidents has nearly doubled, according to the study.
Read the full study HERE.