If it’s never happened to you, identity theft can seem to be an idle threat. The reality is that identity theft is a real problem: in 2010, 7.0% of households in the United States had at least one member experience identity theft. At about 8.6 million households, 7.0% is no small threat, so it’s important to stay on your toes when it comes to data security.
Identity Theft Cases
Out of the many people who fall victim to identity theft every year, there are some exceptional cases. Here is a list of what Datashield believes to be the worst and strangest cases of identity theft ever:
5. Phillip Cummings Steals 33,000 Credit Reports
In 1999, Phillip Cummings, a help desk worker at a software firm, took a spreadsheet of logins and passwords when he quit, granting him access to a number of credit reports. The criminals he sold the reports to stole $50 to $100 million — no small sum for the 33,000 people whose reports were stolen.
4. Abraham Abdallah Steals Millions From America’s Richest
In 2001, Abraham Abdallah duped several credit score companies into providing them with information, and then used the identities of some of America’s richest including Warren Buffet and Steven Spielberg to steal millions of dollars.
3. Malcolm Byrd Gets Arrested
Malcolm Byrd was sitting at home in 2003 when police officers came to his home and arrested him on a warrant for cocaine possession. Though eventually his name was cleared, Byrd learned that a criminal had used his name when he was arrested. He spent some time in jail before finally being released.
2. Gabriel Jimenez’s Identity Gets Stolen
After receiving a letter in 1994 that her 12-year-old son’s taxes had already been filed, Jeri Marks discovered that an illegal immigrant stole her son Gabriel Jimenez’s identity. His social security number had been stolen. To this day he still faces problems from the theft, and currently hopes to get a new social security number to resolve the problem.
1. Bari Nessel Steals Information from Employees
After applying for a job in 1997, Bari Nessel used the information she was given to steal Linda Foley’s identity, accruing large amounts of credit card debt and forcing Foley to jump through hoops later down the road when applying for credit cards and loans. Foley’s theft shows how important it is to keep your social security number secure.
If there’s one thing to learn from all of these cases, it’s that it really isn’t possible to be too careful when it comes to protecting your identity. Identity theft can ruin your life, so taking every precaution with data protection is critical to maintaining your safety.
To stay safe, ensure that you:
- Always know who you’re giving your information to
- Only use trusted companies to get credit information
- Be extremely cautious in giving out your social security number
- Destroy all of your sensitive documents and data in a timely manner
- Act wisely when using the internet
Datashield is here to help. We offer a number of services to secure and destroy your data and documents, ensuring that you get on the path to protecting your identity. For more information, contact us today.