Medical data breaches can be some of the most damaging breaches because of the types of personal information that hospitals collect. Combine that with the sensitivity of a child’s personal information and there is a potential for child identity theft – medical and financial. San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital is just the latest hospital to suffer a data breach. While the Rady Children’s Hospital data breach did not include Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, radiology images, radiology reports or diagnosis, it did include patient names, gender, and in some instances, dates of birth, medical record numbers, parent/guardian names, descriptions of imaging studies and the names of referring physicians.
The hospital learned of the potential incident on January 3, 2020. After an investigation, it was determined that patient names, gender and date and type imaging studies were accessed without authorization through an internet port between June 20, 2019 and January 3, 2020.
The hospital is notifying the 2,360 patients whose information may have been exposed in the Rady Children’s Hospital data breach and providing them with the steps they can take to protect their personal information. In a press release, the hospital states that any patient or legal guardian who receives a letter should review the steps that are outlined in the letter to protect their personal information. The hospital has also provided a toll-free number for people to call who might have questions about the incident (844.902.2025.)
The Rady Children’s Hospital data breach is an example of how thieves might get the personal information of children. However, there are things that the parents can do to reduce their child’s likelihood of falling victim to identity theft following this data breach.
Some red flags of medical identity theft could include:
- Calls from collection agencies regarding bills or credit cards in your child’s name
- Your child is denied government assistance or medical insurance because income or benefits have already been assigned to the child’s Social Security number
- Receiving a medical bill in your child’s name for treatments/services they never received
Keep a close eye on any accounts that may come up in your child’s name. It is recommended to check your child’s credit report because children should not have a credit report in the first place. If one is discovered, parents/legal guardians need to consider placing a freeze on their account and disputing any suspicious activity. Additionally, because of the types of data available in the breach, the potential of a longtail impact to minors is a very real threat. With key information like parents’ name and date of birth, there could be potential risks for children well after the incident is resolved.
If you believe your child may have been the victim of identity theft or their/your information was exposed from the Rady Children’s Hospital data breach, you can call the Identity Theft Resource Center toll-free at 888.400.5530 to speak with one of our advisors. You can also live chat with an advisor on our website. They will help you create an action plan for your case while directing you on the next steps you need to take.