UC SHIP fraud case and how to protect yourself

April 21, 2017

 UC SHIP (not Berkeley SHIP) announces fraud investigation 

UC Berkeley has been informed that students at other UC campuses have been the target of a fraud scheme as members of the University of California student insurance plan, UC SHIP. UC SHIP is currently investigating.

They believe that several entities persuaded individuals to share their SHIP insurance information including membership numbers under false pretenses. This information was then used to file expensive claims.    

UC Berkeley’s insurance plan, Berkeley SHIP, is NOT part of UC SHIP. We are in contact with Berkeley SHIP’s current and previous insurance carriers to determine the impact, if any, on our plan. Currently, there is no evidence Berkeley SHIP has been impacted. We will update our Berkeley SHIP members and the campus community once we have new information.


We advise you to be vigilant about with whom you share your personal information, particularly your health insurance information. Use these tips below to help protect yourself:

  1. Beware of so-called “clinical trials” advertised on social media, the web, and elsewhere. Some of these clinical trials are shams, designed to leverage your Berkeley SHIP coverage to write expensive prescriptions for what are essentially worthless medications. These medications may even be dangerous. The University strongly encourages students and third parties to verify a researcher’s credentials and affiliation before participating in any clinical trial.  Make sure that the informed consent form you sign lists an Institutional Review Board, or Ethics Committee, and contact them to make sure the study is legitimate.  Information about legitimate clinical trials can also be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov. UC runs many clinical trials, and they are absolutely essential to ensuring the advancement of medicine. A genuine clinical trial has important protections for its enrollees. A true clinical trial will rarely offer large sums of money for participants, as was the case in this UC SHIP fraud incident.
  2. Do not share your Berkeley SHIP membership information with anyone, other than your health care provider; when in doubt, check with the Berkeley SHIP office. Your membership number is private, sensitive information. Do not share it with organizations tabling on campus or as part of an employment application. In California, employers can only ask for medical or health insurance information in limited circumstances and very rarely when you are first applying for a job.

For details on the fraud investigation for UC SHIP, please see the official University of California Office of the President press release.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened in this UC SHIP fraud case?

We have been informed that students at other UC campuses have been the target of a fraud scheme as members of the University of California student insurance plan, UC SHIP. UC SHIP is currently investigating. They believe that several entities persuaded individuals to share their SHIP insurance information including membership numbers under false pretenses. This information was then used to file expensive claims.    

UC Berkeley’s insurance plan, Berkeley SHIP, is NOT part of UC SHIP. We are in contact with Berkeley SHIP’s current and previous insurance carriers to determine the impact, if any, on our plan. Currently, there is no evidence Berkeley SHIP has been impacted. We will update our Berkeley SHIP members and the campus community once we have new information.

If Berkeley SHIP is not part of UC SHIP, why should we worry?

While we don’t have any current evidence that students enrolled in Berkeley SHIP students have been impacted, we are taking every precaution to keep our community informed of the issue and how to protect themselves and their private health information. We are in contact with Berkeley SHIP’s current and previous insurance carriers to determine the impact, if any, on our plan. We will update our Berkeley SHIP members and the campus community once we have new information.

How will I know if I’ve been impacted/compromised?

If you have serious reason to believe you have been impacted, please contact the SHIP office. Provide your SID and the reason you think you have been impacted. The SHIP office will look into your case. Again, we have no reason to believe our students have been impacted at this time. In the event that we our carriers discover an impact to Berkeley SHIP members, we will notify the affected members.

When will I know if I’ve been impacted?

Our carriers have indicated that more information will be available next week. We will provide relevant updates to our members and the campus community as they become available.

I have been involved in a clinical trial. Am I impacted?

The University strongly encourages students and third parties to verify a researcher’s credentials and affiliation before participating in any clinical trial.  Make sure that the informed consent form you sign lists an Institutional Review Board, or Ethics Committee, and contact them to make sure the study is legitimate.  Information about legitimate clinical trials can also be found atwww.clinicaltrials.gov. UC runs many clinical trials, and they are absolutely essential to ensuring the advancement of medicine. A genuine clinical trial has important protections for its enrollees. A true clinical trial will rarely offer large sums of money for participants, as was the case in this UC SHIP fraud incident. If you have any medical concerns, please contact your primary care doctor.

What if I have been asked by a third party for my health insurance information?

Do not share your Berkeley SHIP membership information with anyone, other than your health care provider; when in doubt, check with the Berkeley SHIP office. Your membership number is private, sensitive information. Do not share it with organizations tabling on campus or as part of an employment application. In California, employers can only ask for medical or health insurance information in limited circumstances and very rarely when you are first applying for a job.

  1. What happened in this UC SHIP fraud case?
  2. If Berkeley SHIP is not part of UC SHIP, why should we worry?
  3. How will I know if I’m been impacted/compromised?
  4. When will I know if I’ve been impacted?
  5. I have been involved in a clinical trial. Am I impacted?
  6. What if I have been asked by a third party for my health insurance information?

See answers below.