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Financial identity theft occurs when someone uses another consumer’s personal information (name, social security number, etc) with the intent of conducting multiple transactions to commit fraud that results in substantial harm or inconvenience to the victim. This fraudulent activity may include opening deposit accounts with counterfeit checks, establishing credit card accounts, establishing line of credit, or gaining access to the victim’s accounts with the intent of depleting the balances.
This differs from check fraud (forged signature or forged endorsement) or an unauthorized ATM or Debit Card transaction in that it involves more than an isolated single act of fraud. Some examples of Identity Theft include:
Account Take Over
Account take over is one of the more prevalent forms of Identity Theft. It occurs when a fraudster obtains an individual’s personal information (account number and social security number is usually all it takes) , and changes the official mailing address with that individual’s bank. Once accomplished, the fraudster has established a window of opportunity in which several transactions are conducted without the victim’s knowledge using the victim’s personal information. Notice, this involves the intent to take over the victim’s identity as well as more than one isolated transaction.
It can also occur when the fraudster pays employees of various companies and banks to steal account information from the checks that are remitted for payment. The employees will provide the name, address, bank routing number and bank account number. The fraudster will then order checks from a third party check vendor, and begin writing checks on the victims account.
Credit Take Over
Credit take over is another form of Identity Theft that is becoming more prevalent. It occurs when a fraudster obtains an individual’s personal information (social security number is usually all it takes) and establishes credit using that social security number. This may include opening credit card accounts or taking out loans without the victim’s knowledge. Again, this involves the intent to take over the victim’s identity as well as more than an isolated transaction.
Data Thefts: A Huge and Growing Threat
From the trusted non-profit cybercrime Identity Theft Resource Center’s annual Data Breach Report:
Most Notable Recent Incidents
Other Notable Incidents: Late 2018-Present
No One Is Immune, No One Is Safe
Dr. Jim Castagnera holds an M.A. in Journalism from Kent State University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. (American Studies) from Case Western Reserve University. He worked 10 years as a labor, employment, and intellectual-property attorney with Saul Ewing and 23 years as associate provost & legal counsel for academic affairs at Rider University, where in 2018 he received the university’s highest annual award for distinguished service. He also did stints as a full-time law professor at UT-Austin and Widener University Law School.
Having retired from Rider in 2019, he is engaged in a portfolio of activities: President of Dr. Jim’s One-Stop HR Shop, a freelance writing, webinar and training company in the HR space; Partner with Portum Group International LLC, an educational and training organization in the data-privacy and compliance space; Of Counsel to the Wilftek, a law firm specializing in IP; an Adjunct Professor of Law in the Kline School of Law at Drexel University.