Feature Article
Mark Pribish
Non-Financial ID Theft is a Trend You Need to Know About
By Mark Pribish
Vice President and ID Theft Practice Leader

According to the February 2009 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Report (see http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/ for more information), ID Theft and fraud related events are much more than a financial event - where only 35 percent of ID Theft is related to your credit card, debit card, checking account, savings account, auto loan, personal loan, etc.

Instead, the 2009 FTC Report provides an astounding statistic where 65 percent of ID Theft events are non-financial including:

  • Medical, Internet, Insurance, Securities, Child Support, Bankruptcy, Evading the Law, etc. - 24 percent
  • Employment-Related Fraud - 15 percent
  • Government Document and Benefits Fraud - 15 percent
  • Phone or Utilities Fraud - 13 percent

Whereas the total financial ID Theft statistics as reported by the FTC include:

  • Bank Fraud - 11 percent (including Electronic Fund Transfer)
  • New Credit Fraud - 12.3 percent
  • Credit Card Fraud - 20 percent
  • Loan Fraud - 4 percent

Since most people believe ID Theft is comprised of financial/credit related events - most people are not as thoughtful in protecting their driver's license, health insurance, utility, employment, and student ID information. As a result, non financial ID Theft and fraud are on the rise. An example of non-financial ID Theft begins when someone uses your social security number to apply for a job which can lead to taking over your identity and then to committing another non-financial fraud event like Medical ID Theft.

I have listed below the five most common types of identity theft and some accompanying examples including:

Social Security ID Theft - where someone uses your social security number to apply for a job, which can lead to taking over your identity. A common theme when someone steals your social security number is to obtain employment and then the imposter fails to pay taxes and the IRS comes after you for failure to pay taxes.

Drivers License ID Theft - includes the use of another person's identity along with fake identity documents like a birth certificate or social security card. Oftentimes criminals create these documents right from their personal computers and print them after changing your personally identifiable information. In addition, criminals may also provide a legitimate birth certificate belonging to another person - just to get a drivers license.

Criminal ID Theft - where you can be adversely affected when a criminal chooses to use your name and a fake drivers license information at the time of a traffic ticket, DUI or felony. Once bail is posted, the police are now coming to your home to arrest you for skipping bail while the imposter has already left town!

Medical ID Theft - affects both healthcare providers and patients when someone poses as another individual who has a different blood type or medical condition and the medical record reflects the information of the imposter and NOT the individual whose identity has been stolen. When a medical record/file has been compromised, it could cost the patient his/her life and the provider could end up getting sued. Another common theme is when an imposter uses your health insurance information for elective surgery and your health insurance does not cover any of the costs and you get stuck with the bill.

Financial ID Theft - when a criminal takes either over a current checking or credit card account and fraudulently uses your checking or credit card account; or when someone fraudulently opens up a new checking or credit card account in your name and then fraudulently uses those accounts to commit financial fraud.

Lesson learned: Based on the current FTC statistics, you must learn to be as careful in protecting your non-financial sensitive information as you are with your financial information. To make matters worse, due to the current economic uncertainty, criminals are now more motivated to steal your personally identifiable information (PII) than ever.

To read my past newsletters and for additional information on how to protect yourself and your family from Identity Theft please visit the Merchants Identity Theft Educational Website at www.idtheftedu.com.


Scam Central

"The Internet Check Cashing Scam"

How It Works:

This scam typically preys on those who wish to work from home or who are stay at home moms. Because the thieves use convincing tactics and dupe the individual into thinking there is little risk and a big reward, many are victimized by this scam each year.

Here's how the Internet Check Cashing scam usually works:

  • An individual receives an email or actually applies online at sites such as Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com for a work-at-home opportunity.
  • The criminals pose as top overseas companies such as software, health care, or research firms.
  • The victims are told that "due to the delays in clearing checks and money orders in Europe," they need "financial agents" to process payments for their U.S. orders.
  • The victims are promised a long-term "job" with the company and a percentage of the transaction-which seems to vary between 4-10%.
  • The victims will receive checks representing U.S. orders and deposit them in their personal accounts. They are then instructed to immediately transfer the money, minus their supposed fee, to the company. By the time victims discover that the checks that they had deposited are bad, the criminals already have the money that was wired to them and the victims account information for further transactions.
  • The criminals seem to change their corporate identities every few months.

If you believe you've encountered or have been victimized by this scam contact your local law enforcement officials and call 1.866.SMART68 to speak to a Recovery Advocate.

Additional News Links

Here are some additional ID Theft related news articles.