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.
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.