News/PR

Healthcare fraud losses hit record highs in Q1 2024

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Americans lost over $16 million in Q1 2024 to various types of healthcare fraud. U.S. citizens submitted 16,396 healthcare fraud reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), of which 53% indicated losing money.

The median reported loss was $258. Most victims were contacted through phone calls and used credit cards as a payment method. Most reports originated from Florida. The FTC received 1,562 complaints from people living in the Everglade State. The largest portion of the losses — $12 mil — fell under the medical treatments & cures fraud category.

healthcare frauds

In Q1 2023, losses under the same category stood at barely $1 mil, which means that medical treatments and cures fraud increased by 1,100% YoY.

Another $3 mil was reported lost by Americans to scams under the diet products, plans & centers category. The remaining $1 mil was swindled out of the pockets of U.S. citizens by scam actors selling medical insurance & discount plans.

Overall, the upward trend in healthcare fraud began in Q4 2023 when losses rose to $10.2 mil, representing an almost 4x growth compared to losses in Q3 2023.
Since 2019, Americans have lost $113.6 mil to healthcare fraud.

Preventing health scams

The FTC advises following these six guidelines to avoid falling prey to healthcare scams:

  1. Do your research. Search online using the treatment or product name with terms like ‘review,’ ‘complaint,’ or ‘scam.’
  2. Consult your doctor. Before trying a new treatment or product, discuss it with your doctor or healthcare provider.
  3. Beware of unproven products. Unproven products can be dangerous, possibly causing you to delay or stop proven medical treatments. They might also cause adverse interactions with your current treatments or prevent beneficial lifestyle changes.
  4. Guard against false hope. Be skeptical of any product or treatment that guarantees health outcomes. Always verify claims with your healthcare provider.
  5. Understand ‘natural’ claims. Just because a product is labeled as ‘natural’ does not mean it is safe or effective. Natural products can also interfere with medically recommended treatments.
  6. Know the law on advertising. Sellers must have scientific evidence to support their health claims, and ads should be truthful and not misleading. However, be aware that no government agency pre-approves advertisements before publication.

Read full report here.

Read next: The skills gap in cloud security: Are we prepared for 2024 and beyond?

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