In 2019, according to Identity Force 14.4 million consumers were the victims of identity theft. Identity theft is largely defined as your personal information being used against you to commit fraud. Identity theft hurts your credit and reputation and can cost you time and money. Below are some unusual, but far too common examples of the crime.
Identity theft victim examples
Unemployment ID theft in Massachusetts
The pandemic has been hard on almost everyone, but some scammers have used it to their advantage. According to the Eagle-Tribune, Raquel Pena of Lawrence, Massachusetts has pled guilty to using the stolen information of other people to file and receive false pandemic unemployment assistance. It is unknown exactly where this identity thief obtained the stolen information. Most often dumpster diving and carelessly discarded mail are fertile places to find an individual’s necessary details.
Information contained on hard drives is massive
The next case involves a Baltimore police officer and a deceased woman. Sounds strange, but the Associated Press reported that the officer was sent to a dying woman’s home. During the course of that visit and the woman’s death, the officer removed a laptop computer.
The amount of personal information that can be gleaned from a computer is truly massive. Hard drives have enough space to store countless records, photos and all your personal account information. Any device that contains your personal information should be handled carefully and always destroyed before disposal.
Employees can be identity thieves as well
Lastly, the case of Nicole Lescarbeau is a good reminder to businesses of all size that employees are often the cause of losses or damages. While we don’t like to acknowledge that we may have people working for us that are capable of committing fraud on the job.
According to the DOJ, Ms. Lescarbeau wrote a number of unauthorized checks embezzling some $1.3 million from the nonprofit she worked for. By implementing an internal audit and creating a system of checks and balances a workplace can ensure that no one person has the ability to commit this type of crime.
Identity theft resources and tips
In summary, identity theft can happen to anyone. There will always be bad actors trying to steal your identity so increase your awareness. You should also be careful when it comes to protecting personal and business information. Identity theft can ruin your life and your reputation, so taking every precaution with data protection is critical to maintaining your safety.
To protect yourself from identity theft, ensure that you:
- Destroy all of your sensitive documents and data in a timely manner
- Only use trusted companies to get credit information
- Act wisely when using the internet
- Create check and balances at work to reduce fraud
- Be aware of who you’re giving your information to
Datashield offers 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.