Despite your best efforts to keep your personal information safe and secure, you are always at the mercy of rogue employees of companies or governmental agencies that have access to your personal information.
Government officials, particularly those in law enforcement have tremendous access to data banks containing large amounts of personal information that, in the wrong hands, can lead to identity theft which is just what happened when Palm Beach County Florida Deputy Sheriff Frantz Felisma was convicted of identity theft. Felisma was contacted by a criminal looking for personal information about people driving expensive automobiles in order to use that information to make them victims of identity theft. Felisma’s accomplice provided him with the license plate numbers of cars owned by wealthy people and Felisma used his access to restricted data bases to provide his accomplice with the Social Security numbers and other personal information of the targeted victims.
Now Felisma has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution.
There is little that you can do to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this type of identity theft other than to limit as much as possible the companies and institutions to which you provide personal information such as your Social Security number, which is a key piece of information for accomplishing identity theft. Many companies and others with which you do business may request this information although they have no real need for this information. For example, your doctor does not need your Social Security number although many physicians ask for it. When asked, you should politely offer another form of identification. Although I certainly wouldn’t advise it, for years I heard that people who did not want to provide their Social Security number to various institutions would give Richard Nixon’s Social Security number. Out of curiosity I looked up Richard Nixon’s Social Security number through the Federal Death Master Index and found that the number that was floating around on the Internet 567-68-0515 was indeed Nixon’s Social Security number.