Earl Simmons a.k.a. DMX — a rap artist who seems to run afoul of the law frequently — was arrested in a Phoenix mall on Saturday for identity theft.

Apparently, DMX used the name Troy Jones when seeking medical care for pneumonia, according to KNXV-TV in Phoenix. He also used a social security number that didn’t belong to him. Allegedly, DMX did this to get out of paying a $7500 bill.

Earlier this month, DMX was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix for outstanding warrants. He was flying into Phoenix after being arrested for drugs in Florida. Maybe the reason, he doesn’t have the money to pay his medical bills is because of all the drugs he buys (speculation)?

Prior to this arrest, DMX was recently arrested for speeding over 100 miles per hour on a suspended licence, drugs and animal cruelty. According to a Associated Press article, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the investigation into DMX committing identity theft started following the investigation into animal neglect at the rapper’s home in Phoenix. During the search warrant of DMX’s digs — drugs, guns and 12 malnourished Pit Bulls were found. The remains of three other dogs were found on the property, also.

The type of identity theft DMX allegedly committed is known as medical identity theft. Medical identity theft is a growing phenomenon that causes great harm to it’s victims, according to the World Privacy Forum, who performed the first in-depth study of the problem.

Despite the risk it carries, it’s probably one of the least studied forms of identity theft. When someone becomes a victim of medical identity theft they not only face having to fix all their financial records, they also face having a lot of erroneous information placed in their medical records.

Medical identity theft victims might receive the wrong treatment, have their insurance used up, and could even be classified as a bad risk when seeking life and medical coverage. They could also fail a medical exam for employment when diseases show up in their medical records that they never had.

While most identity theft victims can correct errors in their credit reports and place alerts or freezes to prevent further fraudulent activity, the victim of medical identity theft doesn’t have the same legal rights to clear their files of bad information. In some instances, they aren’t even allowed to see what is in their files. Furthermore, medical identity theft victims don’t have the right to stop insurers, health care providers and medical clearinghouses from sending this information back and forth to each other.

As medical records become electronic, this poses even greater risks because the information is being transmitted to a variety of databases. Sadly enough, one of the reasons many of these databases are being created is to prevent fraud.

It is also not unheard of for dishonest people in the medical industry to steal identities to submit fraudulent claims to insurance companies and even the government. Authorities within the law enforcement community estimate we are losing $60 billion a year due to Medicare fraud, according to an article in the Washington Post.

If you are interested in learning more about this, or have been a victim of Medical Identity Theft, I recommend reading the Medical Identity Theft Information Page on the World Privacy Forum.

The World Privacy Forum plans to issue a second study on this problem later on this year.

Booking photo of Earl Simmons a.k.a. DMX at the Maricopa County Jail shortly after his arrest.

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