At DataShield, we spend a lot of time talking about the dangers of identity theft — but even so, it’s often easy to forget that people have their identities stolen on a regular basis.
Identity Theft Cases This Week
As a reminder of the real-life dangers of identity theft, here are a few notable cases from around the country from just this past week:
- Candida Gutierrez, a Houston elementary school teacher, had her identity stolen by Benita Cardona-Gonzalez, who used Gutierrez’s identity to “get a job, credit, a mortgage, food stamps and medical care.” Cardona-Gonzalez was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
- A former Oklahoma City Police Officer went to re-register his vehicle only to find out that it was titled under somebody else’s name. He believes that someone stole his mail to get his information, and the suspect is still on the loose.
- Six renters in Milwaukee had their information stolen off of a housing application. The thief who stole their identities applied for student loans — some up to $25,000 — and left a permanent dent on the victim’s credit. The suspect is unidentified.
- Eighteen Nebraska residents fell victim to identity theft last week when thieves created PayPal accounts in the victim’s names, making over $11,000 in purchases. The thefts started in June 2012, and a suspect has not yet been found.
- Angelique Bankston was arrested last Thursday “after being charged with five counts of bank fraud, three counts of mail fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and sixteen counts of money laundering.” Her trial will occur later this year.
- Chief Justice John Roberts was hit by credit card fraud last week, mentioning in passing to a Starbucks barista that his card had been stolen, forcing him to cancel it. The thief is still unidentified.
So remember: identity theft is a real problem, and it could happen to you if you’re not careful. Always use caution in giving out personal information, use your credit cards wisely, keep a close eye on your mail, and be sure to shred any documents containing personal information.
Shred Fest 3.0
Also, check out our April 6 event ShredFest 3.0, where we’ll be offering free, secure shredding: