Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did You Know...

... I'll bet money you didn't, if you are not closely involved in the medical field.

Your confidential information--medical and otherwise--may very well be going overseas without your knowledge or consent.

Many medical providers in the U.S., in a short-sighted effort to save money, offshore their medical transcription work to India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and other places. (They've been doing it for years, and the wages for medical transcription work in the U.S. have dropped pretty drastically in the same time frame. But that's another gripe.)

Often, in the course of having your medical records transcribed overseas, all of your information that will enable identity theft goes right along with it. And it is, of course, impossible to enforce U.S. privacy laws offshore.

Regular readers might remember the fun I had when I received an order of ::ahem:: male enhancement "vitamins" in the mail, courtesy of an identity thief who was too stupid to change the credit card address to his own. (I am assuming it was a he, because who else would order that stuff?)

The connection I did not make at that time was that less than 3 months earlier, I had been to a medical practice that I know for a fact sends its transcription work to India. (I know this because a friend of mine used to have their account, and she lost it when they decided they wanted to save money.)

Coincidence? I really can't say. But if I, without a larcenous bone in my body, could envision how an unscrupulous medical transcription service operator somewhere in the third world might team up with an identity theft ring and sell them private information (names, social security numbers, etc.)... well. You get the picture.

Here is a site that has more information about a bill currently sitting in Congress that would require Americans to be notified before any of their personal information is sent overseas.


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