According to Wisconsin Physician Services, there is an increase in physician identity theft. There have been reports of individuals using stolen physician identities to establish provider numbers and bill Medicare fraudulently.
In one instance, individuals are soliciting personal identification information from physicians by posing as a Medicare Carrier and requesting data for a "file update." The individual requested personal documentation, including copies of the driver's license and medical license, and used the information to create a "fake" office in another city, to submit an application for a provider number, and bill for services.
In a separate instance, a physician learned his identity was stolen as a result of submitting personal information in response to an employment advertisement.
Physicians are advised to use judgment and caution before responding to inquiries from alleged "contractor employees" asking for personal information for a "CMS file update;" always contact the provider enrollment department for verification first. Physicians are also encouraged to use discretion when sharing personal information with potential employers and to verify the identity of individuals involved in the recruitment process.