Scam of the day – July 29, 2017 – Professional football player victim of criminal identity theft

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead was arrested last month in Virginia on shoplifting charges and the Cowboys responded by releasing him from the team earlier this week.  There was one problem, however. Whitehead was not in Virginia last month, but an identity thief who used Whitehead’s name to commit the crimes was and provided Whitehead’s name when arrested.  Fortunately, for Whitehead, who may be lucky after all, although the Cowboys cut him for a crime he did not commit, the New York Jets signed Whitehead to a contract to play for the Jets.

Criminal identity theft occurs when someone steals your identity and then commits crimes using your name and Social Security number.  The problems encountered by someone whose identity has been stolen by a criminal who then commits crimes in the name of the identity theft victim are tremendous.   Victims of criminal identity theft have been arrested for crimes they never committed and often have had difficulty having the crimes, committed by someone who stole their identity, removed from their records.  A faulty criminal record can affect your ability to get a job or various benefits.

TIPS

If you find that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, you should hire a lawyer and contact the police as well as the District Attorney’s office to straighten out the matter.  File a report indicating that you are the victim of identity theft.  It will be necessary for you to confirm your true identity through photographs and fingerprints. In addition, show law enforcement authorities your driver’s license, passport or any other identification that you might have that contains your photograph.

Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation to have available if you are ever stopped for a traffic violation and your record is checked.  A few states have Identity Theft Passport programs through which anyone whose identity has been stolen by someone who uses it to commit crimes can, upon proving their identity, receive an Identity Theft Passport that protects them and confirms their true identity .  Even if your state does not have an Identity Theft Passport program, get a letter from the law enforcement agency that arrested the person using your name known as a “clearance letter” which indicates that you have not committed the crimes which were done by the identity thief who used your name.  Keep this document with you at all times.

Scam of the day – June 12, 2017 – Criminal identity theft

Today’s Scam of the day is prompted by an email I received from a Scamicide reader whose grandson was a victim of criminal identity theft.   Criminal identity theft occurs when someone steals your identity and then commits crimes using your name and Social Security number.  The problems encountered by someone whose identity has been stolen by a criminal who then commits crimes in the name of the identity theft victim are tremendous.   Victims of criminal identity theft have been arrested for crimes they never committed and often have had difficulty having the crimes, committed by someone who stole their identity, removed from their records.  A faulty criminal record can also affect your ability to get a job or various benefits.

TIPS

If you find that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, you should hire a lawyer and contact the police as well as the District Attorney’s office to straighten out the matter.  File a report indicating that you are the victim of identity theft.  It will be necessary for you to confirm your true identity through photographs and fingerprints. In addition, show law enforcement authorities your driver’s license, passport or any other identification that you might have that contains your photograph.  In the case of the Scamicide reader’s grandson, the identity thief is incarcerated in a state far from her.  In situations like that you should go to your local police and ask them to confirm your identity and send the information to law enforcement in the state or states where the criminal identity thief’s criminal violations occurred.

Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation to have available if you are ever stopped for a traffic violation and your record is checked.  A few states have Identity Theft Passport programs through which anyone whose identity has been stolen by someone who uses it to commit crimes can, upon proving their identity, receive an Identity Theft Passport that protects them and confirms their true identity .  Even if your state does not have an Identity Theft Passport program, get a letter from the law enforcement agency that arrested the person using your name known as a “clearance letter” which indicates that you have not committed the crimes which were done by the identity thief who used your name.  Keep this document with you at all times.

Scam of the day – April 7, 2017 – Criminal identity theft victim sues police deparment

The problems encountered by someone whose identity has been stolen by a criminal who then commits crimes in the name of the identity theft victim are tremendous.   Victims of criminal identity theft have been arrested for crimes they never committed and often have had difficulty having the crimes, committed by someone who stole their identity, removed from their records.  John Ganley is suing the Albuquerque police department after being arrested for crimes committed by someone who had stolen his identity.  Ganley, who has no criminal record alleges the police were negligent in prosecuting him and that the entire matter caused him great distress and a worsening of his Crohn’s disease which can be affected by stress.

TIPS

If you find that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, you should hire a lawyer and contact the police as well as the District Attorney’s office to straighten out the matter.  File a report indicating that you are the victim of identity theft.  It will be necessary for you to confirm your true identity through photographs and fingerprints. In addition, show law enforcement authorities your driver’s license, passport or any other identification that you might have that contains your photograph.

Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation to have available if you are ever stopped for a traffic violation and your record is checked.  A few states have Identity Theft Passport programs through which anyone whose identity has been stolen by someone who uses it to commit crimes can, upon proving their identity, receive an Identity Theft Passport that protects them and confirms their true identity .  Even if your state does not have an Identity Theft Passport program, get a letter from the law enforcement agency that arrested the person using your name known as a “clearance letter” which indicates that you have not committed the crimes which were done by the identity thief who used your name.  Keep this document with you at all times.

Scam of the day – September 7, 2016 – IRS fails to notify identity theft victims

The IRS is certainly aware of the serious problems posed by identity theft which costs taxpayers billions of dollars in phony refunds paid to identity thieves filing income tax returns with fake W-2s in order to obtain fraudulent refunds.  This makes it more startling to recently learn from a report of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that between 2011 and 2015, the IRS failed to notify more than a million taxpayers who had their Social Security numbers stolen even though the IRS was fully aware that these people were victims of employment related identity theft.  Employment related identity theft occurs when someone steals another person’s Social Security number in order to get a job.  Often this occurs when illegal immigrants use stolen Social Security numbers to get a job because they cannot legitimately obtain their own Social Security number.  The IRS becomes aware of the Social Security number being misused when the income tax returns filed using the Social Security number don’t match the W-2s associated with the Social Security number.

In 2014, the IRS instituted a pilot program by which it notified 25,000 people when their Social Security numbers were used by someone else to get a job, but the program was abandoned after a short time.  In April, the IRS indicated that it would begin to notify new victims of employment related identity theft beginning in January of 2017, however, in its report, TIGTA is recommending that the IRS institute procedures to notify not only people who become victims after January of 2017, but also everyone who had become a victim of employment related identity theft previously.  TIGTA also recommended to the IRS that it notify the Social Security Administration when it becomes aware of employment related identity theft.

TIPS

While the intention of the identity thief who commits employment related identity theft is not as nefarious as that of an identity thief who commits identity theft that causes unpaid debt to be incurred in the name of the victim, the dangers of employment related identity theft can easily turn into medical identity theft whereby your medical records become corrupted by the medical records of the identity thief or criminal identity theft whereby crimes are committed in your name.  The best thing you can do to prevent any kind of identity theft is to maintain the privacy of your Social Security number as much as possible.

May 21, 2016 – Steve Weisman’s latest column from USA Today

Here is a link to Steve Weisman’s latest column from USA Today.  As if there isn’t enough to worry  about, this column deals with the very real problems that arise when a criminal who has stolen your identity commits crime in your name.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2016/05/21/when-identity-thieves-commit-crimes-your-name/84383670/

Scam of the day – May 9, 2016 – Sex offender pleads guilty to identity theft

The significance to the headline, “Sex offender pleads guilty to identity theft” is not necessarily immediately apparent.  Recently Fernando Neave-Ceniceros, a convicted sex offender pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Wichita, Kansas to misusing a Social Security number.  What Neave-Ceniceros, an illegal immigrant had done was steal the name and Social Security number of Marcus Calvillo and use it to mask his status as an illegal alien.  However, he also used this name and Social Security number when he was arrested and convicted of a number of crimes including indecent liberties with a child.  The problems encountered by someone whose identity has been stolen by a criminal who then commits crimes in the name of the identity theft victim are tremendous.  Calvillo was fired from his job and had difficulty getting employment because his records indicated he was a convicted child sex offender.  Once Neave-Ceniceros is sentenced on July 25th, Calvillo will be able to start removing the seven felony convictions of which he was never guilty from his record.

TIPS

If you find that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, you should hire  lawyer and contact the police and the District Attorney’s office to straighten out the matter.  File a report indicating that you are the victim of identity theft.  It will be necessary for you to confirm your true identity through photographs and fingerprints. In addition, show law enforcement authorities your driver’s license, passport or any other identification that you might have that contains your photograph.

Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation to have available if you are ever stopped for a traffic violation and your record is checked.  A few states have Identity Theft Passport programs through which anyone whose identity has been stolen by someone who uses it to commit crimes can, upon proving their identity, receive an Identity Theft Passport that protects them and confirms their true identity .  Even if your state does not have an Identity Theft Passport program, get a letter from the law enforcement agency that arrested the person using your name known as a “clearance letter” which indicates that you have not committed the crimes which were done by the identity thief who used your name.  Keep this document with you at all times.

Scam of the day – September 17, 2015 – Criminal identity theft

The problems encountered by someone whose identity has been stolen by a criminal who then commits crimes in the name of the identity theft victim are tremendous.  For Wesley Taylor, his problems began in 2008 when his wallet was stolen thereby providing the thief with the information necessary to also steal Taylor’s identity.  The thief, Timothy Ware committed crimes including murder using the name and Social Security number of Taylor and although Taylor has no criminal history, his records show otherwise and while he has successfully had some of those false convictions removed from his record, others remain.   Taylor has been falsely arrested and denied bail merely because crimes were committed by someone using his name.  Now he is suing the City of Indianapolis in an effort to clear his name.

TIPS

If you find that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, you should hire  lawyer and contact the police and the District Attorney’s office to straighten out the matter.  File a report indicating that you are the victim of identity theft.  It will be necessary for you to confirm your true identity through photographs and fingerprints. In addition, show law enforcement authorities your driver’s license, passport or any other identification that you might have that contains your photograph.

Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation to have available if you are ever stopped for a traffic violation and your record is checked.  A few states have Identity Theft Passport programs through which anyone whose identity has been stolen by someone who uses it to commit crimes can, upon proving their identity, receive an Identity Theft Passport that protects them and confirms their true identity .  Even if your state does not have an Identity Theft Passport program, get a letter from the law enforcement agency that arrested the person using your name known as a “clearance letter” which indicates that you have not committed the crimes which were done by the identity thief who used your name.  Keep this document with you at all times.

Scam of the day – March 2, 2014 – Wells Fargo sued over criminal identity theft

Florida resident, Carlos Gomez is suing Wells Fargo Bank for malicious prosecution relating to an incident of criminal identity theft.  Gomez was falsely arrested in a predawn raid at his home in Kendall, Florida on crimes never committed by him, but were actually done by a bank employee at a local Wachovia Bank (Wachovia is now owned by Wells Fargo) where Gomez had a bank account.  The rogue employee stole Gomez’s identity to launder more than a million dollars that he had stolen from the accounts of other bank customers.  It took seven months for the identity theft to be discovered and for Gomez to be cleared of all charges.  In his lawsuit, Gomez accuses the bank of being lax in its security procedures which, he says, should have been sufficient to prevent this crime.

Although, Gomez’s nightmare is over, many victims of identity theft have more difficulty clearing their names.  Victims of criminal identity theft often find themselves in constant jeopardy of being arrested and jailed for crimes committed by identity thieves who have stolen and used their names to commit crimes. 

TIPS

If you learn that you are a victim of criminal identity theft and that someone has stolen your name and committed crimes using your name, you should contact the police and District Attorney’s office immediately.  File a report indicating that you are a victim of identity theft.  Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation so that if you are ever stopped by a police officer or arrested, you can prove that the criminal is not you.  For more details on what you can do, get a copy of “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which can be ordered from Amazon by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.

Scam of the day – November 29, 2013 – Criminal identity theft

Recently Kimberly Fossen of Portland, Oregon was awarded $105,000 in her lawsuit against the county for her arrest and temporary jailing when the police were actually looking for Minh Thuy Nguyen who had stolen Kimberly Fossen’s identity a year earlier.  At the time of her arrest, Fossen knew that the arrest warrant was meant for Nguyen instead of her and tried to tell police to compare fingerprints to confirm that this was a case of criminal identity theft where someone steals your identity and then commits crimes in your name.  However, the police denied her request, took her to jail and arraigned her the next day in court while shackled and dressed in a prison uniform.  Shortly thereafter the police discovered their mistake and Fossen was freed.  In other cases, people have been jailed for months before they are able to convince authorities that they are dealing with criminal identity theft.

TIPS

If you learn that you are a victim of criminal identity theft and that someone has stolen your name and committed crimes using your name, you should contact the police an District Attorney’s office immediately.  File a report indicating that you are a victim of identity theft.  Get a letter from the District Attorney explaining the situation so that if you are ever stopped by a police officer or arrested, you can prove that the criminal is not you.  For more details on what you can do, get a copy of “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which can be ordered from Amazon by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.

Scam of the day – August 29, 2012 – Criminal identity theft

One of the little discussed, but very serious aspects of identity theft occurs when your identity is stolen by someone who then commits a crime using your name.   A recent incident involving Vancouver Chess Master John Yoos illustrates this problem.  Yoos was surprised to learn that someone with the same name as him was charged with attempted murder in New York City.  Upon further investigation he found that the accused not only had the same name, but the same birth date.  Eventually, he discovered that it was not a coincidence, but rather the accused was someone he had met ten years earlier who had stolen Yoos’ identity.  The Manhattan District Attorney’s office cooperated with the real John Yoos in clearing his name, but others have not been so lucky and actually have been arrested, acquired criminal records and had tremendous difficulty clearing their names.

TIPS

If you find that someone has committed crimes with your stolen identity, clear the matter up as quickly as possible with the District Attorney and then get a letter from the DA that you can carry with you at all times so that if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, such as for a simple automobile violation, you will be able to show that you are not a criminal although such information may still, in some instances, come back to appear on your record.