• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 1. IDENTITY THEFT > What Do Identity Thieves Do?

What Do Identity Thieves Do?

Identity thieves take your personal information and use it to harm you in a number of ways including:

  • Gaining access to your credit card account, bank account, or brokerage account.

  • Opening new credit card accounts in your name.

  • Opening new bank accounts in your name.

  • Buying cars and taking out car loans in your name.

  • Buying cell phones in your name.

  • Using your name when committing crimes.

Although you may not be responsible for fraudulent charges, the damage to your credit as reflected in your credit report can affect your employment, insurance applications, and loan applications as well as any future credit arrangements you may wish to establish.

Nowhere Are You Safe

In November of 2003, in Virginia, anemergency medical technician was arrested and charged with credit card theft, credit card fraud, attempted grand larceny, and identity theft stemming from an incident that occurred when the EMT was called to a nursing home to assist an eighty-year-old resident. While going through her purse for identification, he took one of her credit cards. When he returned to the fire station, he went online using the fire department's computer to order a 42-inch plasma television paid for by the stolen credit card. Fortunately, the credit card company was vigilant and flagged this unusual purchase for an elderly nursing home resident. They called the victim's daughter who managed her mother's financial affairs. She promptly told the credit card company that it was a mistake. It did not take Sherlock Holmes to identify the villain because the stupid thief gave the address of the fire station as the delivery address for the television. Due to prompt action in investigating the matter, the television never was delivered. The computer provided further information that led to identifying the EMT who had helped himself to his victim's identity.

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving is thename for the practice of going through trash for “goodies” such as credit card applications and other items considered to be junk by the person throwing out the material. In the hands of an identity thief, some of this trash can be transformed into gold. Go to any post office and inevitably you will find in their trash containers much of this material that owners of post office boxes toss out when they go through their mail before they even leave the post office. Too often people do not even bother to tear up the items. In the case of pre-approved credit card offers, all the identity thief has to do is fill in the application, change the address, and send it back to the bank. In short order the thief will receive a credit card and a careless individual will become the victim of identity theft as the identity thief begins to use the credit card and runs up debts in the victim's name.

The Drug Connection

Steven Massey wasconvicted of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and mail theft for his operation of an identity theft ring in which he enlisted methamphetamine addicts to plunder mailboxes and a recycling center for pre-approved credit card applications and other material that could be utilized for identity theft. Methamphetamine addicts are perfectly suited for identity theft. They often stay awake for days at a time and can patiently perform boring tasks such as going through mail and even piecing together torn credit card solicitations. Drug money for identity theft information is a growing problem throughout the country. This match between identity theft and methamphetamine addicts was even a topic of discussion in Congressional hearings in 2003.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint