Once thieves have your personal information, they use your stolen identity to commit crimes in a wide variety of ways. Surprisingly, almost 2/3 of these are non-financial in terms of actual immediate gain for the thief or immediate loss to the victim.
Driver’s License or Government Issued Identification
Thieves will literally assume your identity, using your good name on their personal identification. With their new fraudulent identification, thieves may commit criminal acts in many different ways:
Social Security - Employment or Government Benefits
- To buy or lease vehicles.
- To rent a house or apartment.
- To open a new phone or wireless account in your name or run up charges on your existing account.
- To obtain utility services like electricity, heating, or cable TV.
Thieves use your Social Security Number to gain employment, reporting income under your name; or otherwise obtain government sponsored benefits such as Social Security Income or Disability or other assistance programs. Using your SSN, thieves may:
Medical Records - Health Insurance Benefits or Extortion
- Obtain a driver's license or official ID card issued in your name but with their picture.
- Obtain legitimate employment even though they may be in the country illegally.
- File a fraudulent tax return using your information.
- Apply for and receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits in your name.
Thieves use your medical information for health insurance benefits, prescription drugs or Medicare. There are over 50 million people in this country who do not have medical insurance. Additionally there are millions of criminals who are addicted to prescription medications. Your private information contained in your medical records can be used fraudulently to:
Criminal Activity – Committing Crime Using Your Assumed Name
- Receive expensive medical services or procedures using your insurance coverage.
- Obtain prescriptions to satisfy a thieves’ addiction or for resale on the street.
- To extort money or otherwise publicly embarrass you with the threat of disclosing sensitive personal information.
Thieves mask their criminal activity behind your identity. If someone commits a felony in your name, YOU will be served with the warrant.
Financial Theft – Cash or Purchases
- They may give your personal information to police during an arrest. If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.
- Imagine being detained at an airport in customs because someone else used your name when they previously committed a crime.
Thieves use your information to open new financial accounts or to gain access to existing accounts. These include bank accounts, investment brokerage accounts, credit cards and line-of-credit agreements. This criminal activity includes:
- Opening new credit card accounts in your name. When thieves use the cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquent accounts appear on your credit report.
- Changing the billing address on your credit card so that you no longer receive bills, and then run up charges on your account. Because your bills are now sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there's a problem.
- Creating counterfeit checks using your name or account number.
- Opening a bank account in your name and write bad checks - in your name.
- Cloning your ATM or debit card to make electronic withdrawals in your name, draining your accounts.
- Taking out a loan in your name – including a home mortgage or car loan.