On the heels of a hugely successful "National Drug Take Back Day," where Mainers reportedly returned 27,000 lbs of drugs, comes the news of how thieves are stealing medical identities from the information they get from pill bottles that are thrown in the trash.

This can be a nightmare for the victims of medical identity fraud, as these criminals can refill your prescription, use your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, and file claims with your insurance provider, according to consumer protection agency, The Federal Trade Commission.

An FDA expert suggests you scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. Or tear it off and destroy it. This helps protect the privacy of your personal health information and your identity.

"National Drug Take Back Days" are not just for illegal drugs; they’re also a eco-friendly way to get rid of all the prescription and over-the-counter pill bottles that have expired and are taking up valuable space in your bathroom cabinet. Be sure to take advantage of this community service the next time around.

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