Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
A Boston woman has been indicted for allegedly stealing at least 34 identities that she accessed at her job.
â€œThis was an extensive scheme in which the defendant used her access to the victims’ personal identifying information as a means to steal their identities, obtain credit cards in their names without their knowledge, and then use those credit cards to make purchases for her own personal gain,â€ said the local District Attorney. The victims were doctors. “The defendant had access to a large database of health care professionals that contained their personal information, said the DA.
State police learned of the fraud when physician discovered a credit card had been set up in her name and sent to a P.O. box in Lowell Massachusetts. Further investigation by the United States Postal Inspectors revealed that other cards had been sent to the P.O. box. If convicted, she could face up to 75 years in state prison for grand larceny (15 counts), 100 years for credit card fraud (20 counts), 55 years in a house of corrections for identity theft (22 counts), and 20 years in state prison for being a “common and notorious thief.”
â€œCommon and notorious thiefâ€ has become a common theme in the profession of identity theft. And studyâ€™s show as much as 70 percent of all identity theft is committed by someone on the inside of an organization such as a corporation, bank, government agency or simply someone who the victims. Those that have access to the data are most likely to commit the crime. For many people its just to east not too.
The process of stealing an identity involves accessing personal identifying information such as name, social security number, date of birth, and address, in that order. The thief simply accesses a data base they are in everyday and begins to copy/paste the information into an online application or takes out a yellow folder out of a file cabinet and begins writing down the details in a 3 fold mail in credit card application they got on the counter at the local sub-shop during lunch.
Many credit applications request current and previous address. The thief fills out the victims current address as â€œpreviousâ€ address and plugs in a new address to send the credit card to. Iâ€™m amazed that a lender/credit card company, as in this case, is careless enough to send any credit card to a relatively anonymous PO Box. The lender checks the victims credit and no red flags pop up because everything matches. The card is issued and the fun begins.
Once the thief receives the new card they activate it from a throwaway cell phone. Next step is to either cash out the card via an ATM or cash advance or max it out and resell the stolen goods on classified ads or online auctions. If the thief is suffering from a drug addiction they wont be able to stop themselves because stealing identities goes hand in hand with addictive behavior. Its like gambling. Thereâ€™s a â€œhighâ€ thieves get from the rush of beating the system.
Making a determination that the company she worked for should have done a better job to protect the data and blaming the company would be most peoples first reaction. And there are numerous technologies that monitor, manage, control and restrict who inside an organization has access to what data and why. These technologies are being deployed more today than ever due to numerous regulatory issues. However, regardless of what technologies are deployed, the only thing stopping someone from opening a file cabinet is a key. If one even exists at all. So how do you protect yourself when someone has full access to all your information?
1. Get a credit freeze. Go online now and search â€œcredit freezeâ€ or â€œsecurity freezeâ€ and go to consumersunion.org and follow the steps for the state you live in. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name.
2. Invest in Intelius Identity Protect. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing whatâ€™s buzzing out there in regards to YOU.
Personal Identity Profile – Find out if you’re at risk for identity theft with a detailed report of your identity information, including a current credit report, address history, aliases, and more.
24/7 Identity Monitoring and Alerts – Prevent identity theft with automatic monitoring that scans billions of public records daily and alerts you to suspicious activity.
Identity Recovery Assistance – Let professionals help you recover your identity if you ever become a victim of identity theft.
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing identity theft