Consumer Alert: Doctor's office worker steals patient identities

When you fill out medical forms in your doctor's office, you probably assume your information is kept secure and private. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Pamela Hoernschemeyer was a supervisor at a health care company that handled billing, collections and other matters. She had access to patient information, including social security numbers, date of birth and billing addresses. She took advantage of the access.

"She was creating false refund requests," says U.S. Postal Inspector Jamie Portell.

Over four years, Hoernschemeyer submitted fraudulent claims forms and received refund checks totaling more than $100,000.

"She was using her name, her husband's name, her daughter's name and in order to not be detected. She started using varying forms of her name, husband's name, to get these refund checks requested," Portell said.

She combined the fake names with the personal information of real patients. Inspectors began looking into the case after some inconsistencies with the checks were discovered. Their investigation quickly pointed to Hoernschemeyer.

"Ms. Horshyer was sentenced to 37 months in prison, she pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud," says Portell.

Identity fraud victims were hit, on average, every two seconds in the U.S. last year. That's just over 13 million victims.

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