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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2006

    How Much Does Identity Theft Cost You? ... fae4730d79

    How Much Does Identity Theft Cost You?
    By John Wilson, 12/29/2006 11:09:47 AM

    This is in response to your December 29 article entitled "January 1 Three New Identity Theft Laws Will Help Consumers" by Christine Hirasa. There are so many news articles going around about Identity Theft.

    Most of them are all about Credit Fraud and “New Laws” and now with the recent Swift Co. and the illegal immigrants using others Social Security Numbers I think we need to educate everyone more effectively about Identity Theft. I am an Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, certified by The Institute of Fraud and Risk Management,

    According to experts there are Five Types of Identity Theft that we all are facing. The first type is your Drivers License Identity.. A thief can forge a copy of your driver’s license and use it if they get pulled over by the police on a DUI. Your driving privileges could be revoked or suspended. You could even have a warrant out for your arrest and not even know it until it is too late.

    “An 82 year old Grandmother, found out the hard way she said that “a neighbor was arrested on a drunk-driving charges… pretended to be her. There were warrants out for my arrest… I was afraid to answer the phone or the door” (AARP Bulletin, February 2004)

    The next area is Social Security Identity Theft, this is ware thieves use your Social Security Number to get employment or to report income under your name. Leaving you to pay the TAXES! Such as the above with the Swift meat packing plant!

    “A woman applied for a job at a local target store and was denied employment. The reason she was denied was that some one with the same Social Security Number already worked there. During the follow up investigation they found that there were 37 other employers using the same Social Security Number.” (MSNBC, January 29, 2005) And the most recent with the Swift Packing Company in Colorado and the illegal immigrants that were using others SSN. (Most Recent News Broadcasts)

    Next is Medical Identity Theft, Thieves use your medical information to receive your insurance benefits, your prescription benefits or even get medical test done in your name making it look like you are the one with the medical condition.

    “If the person who steals your health identity has allergies or specific medical conditions that collide with yours for instance … when you go in for care, you may experience a dangerous drug interaction or unknowingly be denied potentially lifesaving medications or treatments because they will assume the thief’s medical information are yours.” (University of Connecticut, September 2005) “As the health care system transitions from paper-based to electronic, this crime may become easier to commit and harder to trace. Victims may find it more difficult to recover from medical identity theft as medical errors are disseminated and re-disseminated through computer networks and other medical information-sharing pathways.” (World Privacy Forum, May 2006)

    The next area is your Criminal or Character Identity, this is where thieves hide behind you in our local communities so they can commit crimes and hide behind some ones good name. If they are caught and go to jail you will have the rap sheet and the next time you get pulled over or go through a security check point at an airport be prepared for a nightmare. (Kiplinger magazine had an article in October of 2005 that devoted the entire section on this type of Identity Theft)

    And your Financial Identity Theft is what we are all aware of, our credit cards, checking accounts… Thieves rob your accounts and rack up outrageous charges on those credit cards, take out new loans and more. This can destroy your good name forcing you to pay higher rates and you can be responsible for the actual losses if it is not reported in a reasonable amount of time.

    The Fair Credit Billing Act has established procedures for us to resolve these billing errors. To take advantage of this law we as consumers must send a letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days. If an identity thief changes the address on your account with out your knowledge and you do not receive the bill… the letter still must reach the creditor with in the 60 days or you owe the money.

    A family in 2003 was sued by their Mortgage Company for $75,000.00 plus attorney fees. A thief got hold of a line of credit and switched the address and the family never received the outstanding bills. The mortgage company claimed that the family had been negligent. The family’s attorney said “victims who don’t have the means to find a good lawyer, may be losing out in battles with financial intuitions.”

    Each year 7-10 million Americans fall prey to Identity Theft… From massive data-brokerage firms to tiny local banks, your identity is irretrievably out there. Your name is out there in 1000’s of aggregators. Have you ever had an insurance claim? Do you have a driver’s license? Have you are your parents or your spouse ever been in the military? Have you ever purchased a car? Well, I think you get the picture. We can be as careful as we can with our shredding of personal information and not doing business on the internet but that alone will not stop a thief from getting to your information. Do not get a false sense of security because you do not use credit cards, ATM, Checks, or online purchases. Your information is already out there and there is nothing you can do about that.

    Here is what I am talking about. These companies have been hacked into or the information had been stolen or they just lost yours and my information. Company’s like ChoicePoint, who settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $10 million in civil penalties and $5 million for consumer redress. (See )

    The FTC (see ) announced that victims of identity theft as a result of the data breach who had out-of-pocket expenses can now be reimbursed. And others like, CitiFinancial: 3.9 Million, MasterCard: 40 Million, AOL: 92 Million, Veterans Admin: 26.5 Million, Bank of America: 1.2 Million, Acxiom: 1.2 Billion. Thieves are finding there jack pots in our pocket or our trash bags but at our doctors, chiropractor, CPA’s, and insurers’ office…

    Now how much does Identity Theft Coast you. The average number of checks that is written on an identity Theft is 74.6. The number of Credit Card Applications approved is 8.4. Giving you an average loss of approximately $92,893.00 for every major theft that accurse. Time loss is grave; it can take up to 600 hours of your time, mainly during work to clean up your good name. And if you experience a security breach of sorts there is nothing you can do to stop a thief from getting your information. People can spend $1000s of dollars and months or even years to clean up the mess that the thieves make of your good name. According to USA Today, this is the number on criminal concern for law enforcement over the next decade. There is no absolute solution to prevent Identity Theft. We must be more knowledgeable on the growing pandemic.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BetsyRoss's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    There's a little more to be said about medical identity theft. Having certain tests or diagnostic findings can convince your insurance company that you are engaging in risky behavior. You can be flagged in that way. If you change jobs, you may be turned down for new insurance because of your 'risky behavior' or because of a pre-existing condition that belongs to the other guy, not you.

    Also, one man reported in an article I read once that he was treated very rudely while hospitalized. It turned out that his medical record incorrectly stated that he was a drug abuser, which had influenced the staff's attitude towards him, and possibly his treatment as well.
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