Oh No! Identity Theft at the Dental Office

by Jim Du Molin

“I’d like my teeth cleaned and my credit card number stolen, please!”

Identity theft appears to be one of the trendiest crimes of the twenty-first century: with a few snippets of personal information, identity thieves can empty your bank account, trash your credit, and ruin your relationship with the IRS. Though you can take precautions to keep yourself safe, you can’t stop giving out your credit card or social security number entirely.

A Florida woman recently realized her identity had been stolen after money disappeared from her checking account and Target congratulated her on the new credit card she never signed up for. And who do you suppose the culprit was? The 21-year-old assistant at her dentist’s office.

The assistant was arrested and charged with multiple counts of identity theft; she is suspected of stealing the identities of at least nine patients at two dental practices where she worked. The assistant would copy patients’ credit card info, then use the numbers to order merchandise online.

In one case, she allegedly put nearly $2,000 of electronic equipment on one victim’s card. So far, authorities estimate she stole at least $25,000 worth of merchandise. Police were able to track her down because she had online purchases shipped directly to her home.

Does your dental practice take precautions against identity theft? How do you protect your patients’ personal information? Read the full story, then post your comments below!


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