Identity Theft – How You Could Become a Lifelong Victim
May 14, 2012
By Roger Thompson

Hi folks,

Continuing in the vein of Things That Normal People Need To Watch Out for, I came out of the gym a couple of weeks ago, and as I went to my car door to open it, I found the ground was covered by smashed windscreen glass. Having quickly assured myself that it didn’t come from my car, I found it came from the car beside me, and while I was contemplating this fact, the owner of said car came up, simultaneously talking on her cell phone, looking worried and trying to assure me that all was well.

To cut a long story short, she had left her husband’s wallet in plain view on the seat, and some villains had decided to relieve her of it. She’d made the discovery just before we met her, and was on the phone to the bank, trying to cancel their cards. Interestingly, the villains were already trying to use the cards.

This is not, however, what this story is about, but it reminded me of a friend who had a similar experience. In her case, she was dropping off a child at day care, and knowing she’d just be a minute, she left her car unlocked, and her purse and laptop on the front seat, something she “almost never did”. When she came back, her purse and laptop were both gone.

Losing your credit cards is always bad, but in my friend’s case, it soon got much worse. She’d just taken a new job, and because she was filling out tax information, she had her Social Security Card in her wallet.

She immediately did all the right things, cancelling her cards, closing her check accounts, and notifying the credit reporting agencies, etc.

This event happened in Arizona, so you can imagine her surprise when, five or six weeks later, someone in Florida pretending to be her cashed a check on her new account!

Put another way, they stole a check from someone else, made it out to my friend for just less than $2000, and then cashed it as her, writing her SSN and new account number on the back. The first she knew about it was when the stolen check bounced, and the bank reversed the money from her account.

The real kicker is that they managed to do the same thing a week later, for another almost $2,000.

What this means is that, although she canceled everything she could, she could not cancel her SSN, and the perpetrators were seemingly able to use that to get her new account numbers.

This is not a new thing by any means. The banks know them well, and call them The Felony Lane Gang, because they always cash these checks in the outer-most drive-thru lane, which apparently has no security cameras.

As well as worrying that the perpetrators might submit a tax return on her behalf, she also has to file a police report that identity theft was committed in her name. She’ll always have to carry that report around with her, because there’s a good chance that, at some point, they’ll commit some crime that will result in a bench warrant being issued in her name.

The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t carry your Social Security Card, and always be especially careful with your SSN.

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Be the first to know the latest in cybercrime.  The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report was recently released.

Now in its fifth year of publication, the report spans 855 data breaches across 174 million stolen records.   Verizon was joined by five partners that contributed data to this year’s report: the United States Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, the Australian Federal Police, the Irish Reporting & Information Security Service and the Police Central e-Crime Unit of the London Metropolitan Police.  With expert coverage and data analysis from the best in the business, you can’t afford not to use the DBIR as your go-to source for protecting your company’s data and identity.


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