by: Rick Earle, Target 11 Investigator Updated:
PITTSBURGH - A Target 11 investigation into your personal medical information has discovered that some of your important personal medical information may be for sale online.
Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle discovered there’s nothing illegal about it because the people whose information is now for sale filled out survey’s requesting information about certain products related to their medical condition. In this case it’s diabetes.
Target 11 obtained names, addresses, birthdates of diabetic patients, along with their doctor’s name and insurance company. It was all available for sale on line.
Working with Internet security expert Rick Wallace, Target 11 was able to get a free sample from a company that sells the information for as little as 5 cents per name.
“They didn’t ask you to verify anything? “ asked Earle.
“Nothing. No questions asked,” said Wallace.
Using the data, Target 11 was able to track down some of the people on the list, including one man in Mt. Lebanon.
“Are you surprised we were able to get this information?” asked Earle.
“No, I get three to four calls a week from people trying to sell me diabetic testing equipment,” said George Levin.
The company selling the information indicates on the website that people have consented to the release by filling out a survey requesting information.
Levin said he doesn’t remember consenting to anything, but he admits to filling out the survey on line. He claims he never agreed to the release of his information.
“I didn’t consummate the deal but once you put your name and address, they got you,” said Levin.
Target 11 also tracked down a woman on the other side of the state in Allentown. She said she filled out surveys online in an attempt to make some extra cash, but doesn’t remember consenting to the release of her information. She was surprised that we were able to track her down so easily.
While this particular information that Target 11 obtained is intended for businesses who sell diabetes related products, services and equipment, Wallace said in the wrong hands it could lead to identity theft.
“I could spoof the doctor's phone number, call them and pretend to be their doctor. Hey there Mary, we have your Social Security number as xyz -- is this right? No it's not. This is what it should be,” said Wallace.
And a recent survey found nearly 2 million people were victims of medical identity theft last year, costing $12 billion .
Levin said he’s not worried about his identity, but he does have some concerns.
“My concern is a lot of people who are elderly who are not in as good as shape as I am, some of whom are not as intelligent or informed as I am who are getting scammed,” said Levin.
Target 11 reached out to a company that sells the information, but never heard back from them.