#26 Criminal Identity Theft
Every day, innocent Americans have their identities stolen by identity thieves who then use the identity of the innocent victim during the commission of other crimes. When those crimes are finally detected, the discovery of the fraudulent action may result in the innocent victim receiving a criminal record that they are unaware of until they are stopped by a police officer or go through a background check for a job.
Criminal identity theft is the use of any form of identification to deceive a law enforcement officer or agency into assigning a criminal act to the name of an identity theft victim. Once the name of an innocent identity theft victim is assigned to the criminal act of the true perpetrator, it can be very difficult for the identity theft victim to convince law enforcement authorities that they are not the individual who committed the crime.
For many victims, the first time that they learn that someone has used their identity to commit traffic violations, misdemeanors, or felonies is when they are picked up on an outstanding arrest warrant. As any victim of criminal identity theft who has been arrested on an outstanding warrant will attest, once the police are convinced that they have arrested the criminal sought on a warrant, it is hard to convince them they have the wrong individual because police hear that claim of innocence from actual criminals every day.
For other victims, the first time that they learn they have fallen prey to criminal identity theft is when they are turned down for a job due to the criminal record the identity thief has created in the victim’s name. Even if the victim is able to clear his name, the job they sought may have long since been filled by another candidate.
Perhaps the worst aspect of criminal identity theft is that – similar to medical identity theft – it has received scant attention compared to other forms of identity crimes, and therefore is one of the most difficult forms of identity theft to prevent or detect.
While there is a significant segment of the consumer protection industry that has developed to assist in protecting financial services customer records such as credit reports, credit card transaction records, bank and investment account data, there are no specific services available to monitor and safeguard your criminal record. So, quite literally, the first time you realize someone has used your identity to commit crimes in your name may be as you hear the jail door slam behind you.
Credit monitoring will not alert you to this type of identity theft.
LibertyID will take the following steps for/with their members:
- Contact local law enforcement
- Place fraud alerts at all three credit reporting agencies
- Place credit freezes at all three credit reporting agencies, if appropriate
- File report with FTC
- If their identity theft involved the use of your driver’s license number, Social Security Number, or another type of identification, will we contact the relevant agencies to notify them of the theft
- Review credit reports with the victim to ensure there is no other types of fraud
- Provide single bureau credit monitoring with alerts for 12 months
- LibertyID will ensure that the restoration is completed with the victim
- Periodically contact the member throughout the 12 months following resolution of their ID theft recovery case, if warranted