5 Real Stories From Real Identity Theft Victims

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5 Real Stories From Real Identity Theft Victims

You know that identity theft is a threat, but you might conveniently believe that it will never happen to you. However, more than 15 million Americans have their identities stolen every year, and rates of identity theft are on the rise. The likelihood that you will be victimized by an identity attacker in the coming years is far from zero.

The sooner you start , the better protected you will be against the worst consequences of identity theft. If you need more convincing, perhaps these real stories of identity theft will convince you to take the correct precautions today.

A Fraudster Walks Away With Tens of Thousands of Identities

This story comes from almost two decades ago, but it should still send chills down your spine. In the early 2000s, a worker at Teledata Communications, Inc. in Long Island, NY named Philip Cummings quit his job, and when he packed up his belongings, he took home confidential passwords that compromised the personal information of more than 33,000 customers. Cummings sold this data to criminals, who summarily drained customer bank accounts and committed rampant credit card fraud. Though Cummings was discovered and incarcerated in 2004, his crimes amounted to combined losses of over $100 million, which remains to date the largest case identity theft in the United States. However, fraudsters like Cummings are not few in number; any time you divulge your personal information to a company, you are trusting the unknown employees of that company to keep your identity safe. That’s why you need to take control of your information with identity protection tools.

A Mother Steals Her Daughter’s Identity for Cheerleading

In 2008, a Wisconsin mother named Wendy Brown made headlines across the country — and around the world — for an egregious theft of her daughter’s identity. Child identity theft is relatively common because children have spotless credit and misuse of their identities likely won’t be discovered until children apply for a driver’s license or credit card, which could allow for years of fraudulent use. However, Brown didn’t steal her daughter’s identity for financial reasons; she did so to join a high school cheerleading squad. Brown used her daughter’s name and information to enroll in a different high school, where she became a cheerleader and attended a pool party with other students. However, Brown’s misconduct was discovered when she failed to attend her classes. Brown defended her behavior as a desire to experience adolescence in a way she was unable to during her own difficult childhood, and she was determined not guilty due to mental disease. Still, her story is a fascinating example of how an identity can be grievously misused, even by those we love.

The Perfect Boyfriend Takes Millions From Lovesick Victims

Famously dubbed the “Tinder Swindler,” a fraudster named Shimon Hayut gained international notoriety within the past few years for his heartless methods of stealing victims’ identities through the ever-popular romance scam. Hayut is not the first criminal to use this scam, which involves posing as an attractive, wealthy, loving romantic partner to gain access to an individual’s financial accounts and other sensitive information, but he has seemed to perfect the art, managing to defraud over $10 million in a relatively brief amount of time. Even now, many of Hayut’s victims suffer from the debts he incurred in their name — and Hayut walks as a free man, having served only five months behind bars. If you are a habitual user of dating apps and websites, you should be exceedingly skeptical of any romantic partner whom you rarely see in person and who makes requests for significant amounts of money, even if they lavish you with expensive gifts. The last thing you want is to be in debt and forever afraid of falling in love.

An Intelligence Agency Frames an Innocent Woman for Assassination

Usually, identity thieves want to exploit their victims’ financial accounts or credit, but sometimes, those dealing in personal information have other goals for using someone else’s identity. In 2010, the Israeli Intelligence Agency assassinated a top member of Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization, in Dubai and poorly covered up their tracks using forged Australian passports. Days later, an Australian woman named Nicole McCabe was listening to the radio in her car when she found out that she was a suspect in the assassination. Fortunately, McCabe moved quickly to report her identity theft, and she was cleared of all charges — as were the other Australians who had been implicated in the crime — and for a time, Israeli diplomats were expelled from Australia due to their misconduct. Still, this story demonstrates the willingness of criminals to use identity information in all manner of crimes, even murder.

There is little you can do to avoid your personal information leaking out. All manner of people and organizations need access to your most sensitive data, and by giving them access, you are allowing for the possibility of a breach in security that could result in identity theft. Fortunately, with identity protection services, you can rest easier, knowing that professionals are watching over your data and keeping you safe.

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Author: Firdaus

I work as an IT consultant in the Toronto area and I love to write blogs about a variety of subjects. My passion for writing stems from the desire that everyone should have access to meaningful information. Whether it is a blog about society, culture, technology, or social media, I don’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing my thoughts with my friends and audience. Since I believe in mutual exchange of ideas, I am always on the lookout for a feedback on my writings.

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