Reports from the Identity Theft Resource Center reveal disturbing trends in the way identity theft victims are being exploited. Often, victims had no idea their identity was stolen until a disturbing or catastrophic event turns their lives upside down.
It is more important than ever to regularly conduct a personal background check, check your credit report, and monitor public records on yourself or those you care about to help avoid truly nasty surprises…
Using someone’s name to apply for credit now seems like one of the more harmless ways that identity thieves exploit stolen information. Why? Criminals now use personal information to hide their true identities in the commission of serious crimes, such as child abuse or terrorism.
These types of identity theft are almost invisible until they cause a serious problem. One victim found himself lying face down in the dirt with guns on trained on him after being pulled over for a broken tail light. The identity thief was wanted for rape and child abuse, and the victim lost his business as a result, and had to change his name.
Another identity theft scam on the rise is filing fraudulent medical insurance claims. If this happens, you may have no idea until you are refused medical insurance coverage. Or a collections letter notifies you of a stain on your credit report because the thief didn’t pay the co-insurance or the deductible.
Of added concern is that a medical center then has incorrect medical information on file under your name. In extreme situations, this could lead to death as a result of incorrect medical procedures being taken.
Another painful way to discover there is something on your record that you need to know about is when a background check causes you to be passed up for a promotion. Worse, this could cost your job, and in the worst of situations you may find yourself face down in the dirt.
Experts don’t have hard statistics on how much this happens, but say it’s a growing concern affecting more and more people. In February 2010, New York police caught a ring of 22 alleged identity crooks.
These crooks sold new identities to criminals, complete with driver’s license and birth certificates. The identities were stolen from regular Americans like you and I. Police say, among the customers paying $7,000 to $10,000 for identities were:
- A man who was on supervised release from a 70-month federal prison sentence for drug trafficking and firearm offenses.
- A convicted felon whose driver’s license had been suspended for multiple drunk driving convictions.
- A convicted sex offender who had been returned to prison for failing to register as a sex offender. On release, he visited these identity thieves for a new driver’s license, presumably so he could again avoid registration.
- Another convicted felon, who got his fake ID while still in prison.
This gives you just a small sampling of the types if unsavory individuals that could be walking around using your name. You need to know what public records say about you to be sure your name is not being misused. A personal background check from the most comprehensive online services is an excellent way to start and review what is publicly available.
Categories: Identity Theft and Protection Tips