How Thieves Steal Identities Legally
So, there you are sitting at home, working or who knows where patting yourself on the back because you think you know everything there is to know about protecting your identity. You brag to your family and friends you know all identityiq $1 trial the tricks of the trade associated with criminal identity theft. That’s right, your not going to become a victim because you know all about the scams and tactics such as Dumpster Diving, Retrieving, Stealing payment or identification cards, Phishing, Changing Your Address, Pretexting, Remotely reading information, Advertising bogus job offers, Browsing social networks, Old-Fashioned Stealing, Keylogging and a 100 other things. Well, all your knowledge is great for the 20 percent of your personal information you actually have control of!
When a criminal gets your Social Security number, name, date of birth, etc. it is like handing them a bar of gold and it is all over but the shouting in there minds eye. Do you really have control of company or corporate Phone lists, Memos, Policy manuals, Calendars of events, System manuals, Print outs, Disks, Organizational changes and everything else that (despite laws to prevent improper disposal of information) – ends up in the trash and dump sites constantly. Face it you do not!
So, now you already have two strikes against you. One – you can control personal information on the home front so you think but that home front information has more leaks than you think and two – unless you liquefy everything leaving every business in the United States, you have personal data out in the public domain waiting for criminal harvest as well. This country has done and continues to display your personal information everywhere despite our knowledge that identity theft is the number one white-collar crime plaguing its citizens.
Yes, we are making progress with laws, security measures, counter-measures and consumer awareness programs but, your Social Security number is still out there and can be obtained legally by the average person and professionally by criminals, investigators, journalists and about every other source you can think of. Following are just a few examples on how your SSAN is exposed by public and private records;
Driver License abstracts – in some states the SSAN is used for the license number or is listed as well as the license number. Some states allow the use of a SSAN to be optional but despite this, only 15 percent of applicants request a non-SSAN drivers license.
Income Tax Records – Tax records are sometimes made public (commonly in divorces where there are issues of alimony, child support/custody, property division, etc. where tax returns are case filed as key evidence, disputes with the IRS eventually find their way to Washington where the IRS Form 7249-M can list detailed info about a subjects’ salary, income streams, assets and other liabilities, a person involved in a civil litigation could find their personal tax records enclosed in a publicly available documents attached as pre-trial discovery or evidence at a trial.) Anyway, your tax documents contain your SSAN/TIN taxpayer identifier number.
Application for Jobs, Housing and Court Records. – Name, date of birth, SSAN is almost always required information to obtain a bank account, apartment, job, loan, mortgage or credit card. It is not at all difficult for law enforcement, lawyers, investigators, journalists (people posing as same) to get access/copies of apartment rentals or job applications. Apartment applications are common civil court records normally found attached to recorded landlord/tenant cases or personal bankruptcy files and criminal court files as an exhibit to a motion or affidavit.
Voter Registration Records – Voter registration records in some areas are maintained at the local board of elections and are almost always made public record. Many contain the SSAN to preclude voter fraud. This inclusion of the SSAN has declined over the years but was commonly listed on older records still available.
Military Records – Military members are identified by their SSAN and despite the fact that the Privacy Act of 1974 prevents the government from releasing the SSAN a request for a persons service record could find that SSAN listed on discharge papers (DD Form 214) filed at the county courthouse.