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Fraud through Identity Theft

We all have seen the commercial for a large bank with the different voices for the people that are on the screen, and we laugh, or roll our eyes depending on the amount of times that you have seen the commercial. That’s Identity theft right? WRONG it is a bank trying to convince you that they take care of your accounts and safeguards them against Identity theft from happening to you, does it work? I don’t bank with the bank that runs the commercial, but I know someone that does and there was fraud on her card and when she called she insisted that she needed to speak to the fraud department, so in her experience, no their systems don’t work.
So what is Identity theft? How do you know that you have been a victim, and how did they get the information? This is a long and winding road, oops that’s a song going through my head, but it is a long road, if you have been a victim of ID Theft you will probably never be able to find out who took the information or how access was gained, worse yet, it can happen over and over again before you catch on that they have your information.
There are a couple different versions of Identity theft, one is synthetic, this is where a person randomly takes your name and puts a new number to your identity and you now have problems, but not as large as a full theft, the reason for this is simple, this theft is easier to track since they are using a different number than you for your major purchases, another part of synthetic theft, is more important to businesses.
This is common with many persons using the name, or logo of a legitimate business to promote their business, there is currently a help wanted ad going around for Icon Builders, I knew the name Icon, but I didn’t think they were based in Wisconsin as the advertisement stated, I looked it up, and it is a scam (fraud) by an independent Sales Consultant with Herbalife, now if I was Herbalife I would talk to the consultant since it affects their good name, but I am not going to argue about something that I am not involved in, Icon on the other hand could go after the consultant and Herbalife, since they are being given a black eye in business with persons looking to get a job with a good company, but are snookered into scam.
What’s another version of Identity theft, that would be cloned Identity Theft, it is the kind that is shown on the commercials, this is where a person uses your full identity for purchases, cash, credit and many other things. This is the hardest one to prove that it is not you, and to get it straightened out.
Unless an extreme cases you will not be able to get a new Social Security Card, so you are always linked to the number that the fraudster is using, but lets look at how they get this information, the possibilities are endless, think of the places you have used your Social Security number, ok you think you have it covered right? Check the list below to see if you have them all.
1. School Transcript – prior to 2000 most schools still used your Social Security Card as your ID Number too
2. Old resumes – did you used to save your potential employers time with this being on your resume? See number 3 for the next eye opener
3. All places you applied to and put your social security number on the resume, or application.
4. Motor vehicle – until 2000 many states put your social security number on your license, and they have it referenced in their computers even if it is not on your license
5. Marriage or Divorce documents – this is your identifier, and some of those records are a matter of public record
6. Credit applications – have you ever gotten a credit card without supplying the SS#?
7. Medical records
8. Medicare or Medicaid – up until a few years ago these government agencies used your Social Security number as your account number, and most carried these in their purse or wallet.
9. Pharmacy – there are some pharmacies that use that as your number for billing for insurance
10. Worker compensation claim – they used, and some continue to use your SS# for tracking
This is a short list of locations that can be holding your PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Thinking about all the places you didn’t think of before?
When I was working on my certification for Identity Theft, I thought I was pretty well covered, it would be hard to get my SS#, I was so WRONG think about it, and how many times have you applied for a job? Did you get the job? Did you stay at the job? If you didn’t get the job what did they do with your application? Shredding is now in vogue, but in 1985 when I graduated from High School, ok no jabs at age here, there were no shredders in the office; there was no separating of paper from other trash, so where did my Social Security number end up? I have no clue.
How many times have there been stories of dumpster divers finding a mother load of information about people? These stories are usually about people that dumpster dove and turned the information over for the betterment of society and the business practices of the business doing the dumping, but realistically how many times have fraudsters dove and come up with information that they sell or personally use?
In the coming days and weeks I will present more areas for you to safeguard your identity, all questions and comments are welcome.

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