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Privacy Medicine

Blue Shield Leaks 18,000 Doctors' Social Security Numbers 74

itwbennett (1594911) writes "The Social Security numbers of roughly 18,000 California physicians and health-care providers were inadvertently made public after a slip-up at health insurance provider Blue Shield of California, the organization said Monday. The numbers were included in monthly filings on medical providers that Blue Shield is required to make to the state's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). The provider rosters for February, March and April 2013 included the SSNs and other sensitive information and were available under the state's public records law." Ten copies were requested under the public records law.
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Blue Shield Leaks 18,000 Doctors' Social Security Numbers

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  • Re:Using SSN? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @08:36AM (#47406373)

    They can use SSNs for ANYTHING, which is what's so scary about having yours stolen. They can open credit cards, take out insurance policies, even look for jobs in your name. Essentially, an SSN is a person's identity.

  • Identity Theft (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @08:38AM (#47406385) Homepage

    I've been through identity theft. It's not fun. And I was lucky enough to catch it quick enough that little damage was done. Capital One approved a card for "me" based on an online form where the thieves had my name, address, DOB, and SSN. Mother's maiden name was wrong, but that didn't stop the approval process. The thieves paid for rush delivery of the card and then changed the address on it. This meant that the card was sent to me BEFORE the address change went through. If this hadn't happened, I would have only known about it once the bill collectors came barging down my door.

    On a side note: Capital One was not helpful at all. They stonewalled both me ("If we tell you the address on the card and you go and kill the person, we're liable" = what they actually told me) and the police (gave them a phone number linked to an answering machine and never called back). The combination of their approval of the card, missing all of the red flags along the way, and refusing to help beyond canceling the card means Capital One will NEVER be "what's in my wallet."

    For those who think they have bad credit and thus wouldn't be victims, it doesn't take much. Remember, the thieves don't care about whether you can pay back the bills they are generating. All it takes is one credit card company to approve a card and they'll tear through the balance leaving you with thousands in debt that you'll need to prove wasn't your doing. In addition, there's another form of identity theft where a criminal is arrested and gives your name/SSN/DOB instead of their own. Then your name goes into the police databases and you'll be harassed as an assumed criminal. Removal of your name can take years during which time you'll flunk any background checks.

    There's no protection that I know of from the latter form of identity theft, but you can freeze your credit to protect against the former. This means that nobody - not even you - can open new lines of credit unless you first thaw the credit files. The downside is that you need to pay to freeze and for each thaw. The upside is that you have a handy retort for all of those "You can save $5 if you open up a credit account with us" offers at the cash register. "No, thanks. My credit file is frozen." I've found these people stop their sales push the minute they hear you were a victim of identity theft. (I don't think that's in the script they are supposed to read to customers. ;-) )

  • Re:Good news though (Score:5, Informative)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @09:25AM (#47406577) Homepage Journal
    This was my first thought, WTF are they using SS on this type of report at all?!!?

    I mean, if they need a record of the physician's business, why not use the Federal Tax ID? Why in the world would anyone give out a SS number in this day in age for anything besides something that is directly related to SS transactions (taxes, payments, etc)?

    I don't give my SS to anyone except the bank and for SS tax purposes. My last power company tried to insist I give it to them, when I asked WTF they needed this for simply connecting power they said for a 'credit check'. I talked further and found out they'd take a deposit in lieu of this and that's the road I took. I got the deposit refunded about 6mos later I think.

    But seriously, there not a THING these days that should or does require a SS# to be given. However, sometimes, sadly, you DO need to be persistent in your insistence that they don't need it. Speak to a mgr or two if need be, but don't' give it out.

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