Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to face sudden, unexpected and expensive medical bills. It’s also becoming increasingly normal to find out that your identity has been stolen. These two worlds collide in the story of a California man who recently found out he was being charged gobs of money by a hospital for a medical procedure someone had performed using his identity.
The Daly City, CA, Police Department recently asked folks in the San Francisco Bay Area for help identifying a man who stole another man’s identity and used it to run up more than $52,000 in medical bills at a local hospital.
The suspect didn’t hijack the victim’s identity by hacking into some bank network or buying his information on the black market. He simply stole the guy’s backpack.
It Started With A Backpack
Authorities tell SFGate that the incident began when a Daly City man’s backpack — which contained his credit cards, passport, and other personal items — was stolen from his parked car in San Francisco.
While the man set up a fraud alert with Equifax and received notice of some fraudulent activity, he thought the issue was over.
That is until he recently received a call from Seton Medical Center’s billing department, wanting to know if the man needed assistance in paying his $52,310 bill.
What bill? The man said he didn’t know what the rep was talking about, as he hadn’t been to the hospital and hadn’t received any kind of emergency room procedure. It’s unclear what procedure the thief received.
Looking For The Thief
Daly City Police Sgt. Ron Harrison tells SFGate that the case of identity theft wasn’t something the department is used to seeing.
“Usually with identity theft you see people fill a bunch of vehicles with gas, buy goods, electronics,” he said.
While police haven’t tracked down or identified the identity thief, they do note that the victim won’t be responsible for paying the hospital bill.