Scam of the day – February 6, 2014 – Identity theft convictions

Recently Domingo Pablo Guttierrez, Moises Lara-Ceballos, Juan Quero-Mendez and Adonis Ramirez-Segura were convicted on various charges related to an identity theft conspiracy by which the defendants stole the Social Security numbers and other information of Puerto Ricans and sold the information for between $700 and $2,500 per set to Americans in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama.  The information was used for a number of different illegal purposes.  Social Security number of Puerto Rican citizens living in Puerto Rico are particularly valuable to income tax identity thieves because Puerto Rican citizens who derive all of their earned income from Puerto Rico are not required to file federal income tax returns.  Thus they are more likely to go undetected when filing a false income tax return using the Social Security number of a Puerto Rican citizen.

TIPS

A key to identity theft is your Social Security number.  It is important to make every effort to keep it secure and limit the places that have your Social Security number as much as possible because your security is only as strong as the weakest place that holds this information.  It is also important to consider filing your income tax return as early as possible to prevent an identity thief from using your Social Security number and filing before you do.