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Identity Theft Case Studies

Many Americans still perceive identity theft as strictly a financial issue, yet the overwhelming majority of cases involve other types of identity theft.

An Air National Guard member was working for a defense contracting company when his identity was stolen. His credit report became so damaged that he lost the security clearance at his job and was blocked from active duty with the Air National Guard. His only means of employment was working a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant.
A 19 year old college student applied for her first credit card. She was turned down and told that the Social Security Number she used did not belong to her. It turns out that an identity thief had been using her Social Security Number since she was nine years old and was able to open up over 40 accounts. The total estimated fraud was over $1,500,000.00 USD, which included several mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans.
Imagine having an eleven-year-old with a mortgage, a car loan and 9 credit cards. That's what happened to one minor child. Overall, there were sixteen accounts associated with her Social Security number with the activity beginning when she was six-years-old. This fraud included one mortgage totaling $93,157, nine charge/credit accounts totaling $24,746, one auto loan totaling $11,199, three installment accounts totaling $3,625 and other accounts already in collections.
A teenaged college student applied for her "dream" internship during college. A background check revealed that someone was using her Social Security number for employment and had been doing so for many years. She was classified as "unemployable" because she did not have her "own" Social Security number. As a result, she spent months doing paperwork, standing in lines, and working with credit bureaus and the Social Security Administration trying to remedy this situation. Restoring her identity was like a full-time job. During this time the internship was awarded to another applicant.
A man's wallet is stolen. The wallet contained only four items: driver's license, Social Security Card, Air Force Identification Card, and four dollars. Seven months later, he was fired from his job after his manager discovered he had been arrested for shoplifting (when he had not in fact been arrested). His employer then entered the incorrect arrest information into a database that is used by many other employers in that industry. This erroneous arrest "record" prevented the victim from obtaining other employment. He had no income, could not pay bills, and was forced to file bankruptcy.
A woman in Chicago was surprised to be turned down for employment at a local retail store. The reason? She already worked there, or at least the records showed that her Social Security Number worked there. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that 37 different illegal immigrants had used her Social Security Number to obtain employment at various companies, including the one where she applied.
A man's driver's license is stolen. The identity thief creates a new license with the victim's license number along with the thief's picture and a false address. The thief is then pulled over for a minor traffic violation and provides the fake license to the officer. A ticket is issued and the thief does not show up to court. The victim not only faces higher insurance premiums, however, a bench warrant is issued in his name for "Failure to Appear." That means that at a routine traffic stop, he will be arrested on the spot and possibly spend a night or two in jail prior to a hearing.
A man discovered a medical identity thief had used his identity at five separate hospitals to receive more than $100,000 worth of medical treatments. Beyond the financial burden and challenges posed in attempting to absolve himself of the fraudulent charges, the victim also struggled with the daunting task of correcting multiple medical histories.
Over an eighteen-month period, an identity thief impersonated a victim to procure over $50,000 in goods and services. This damaged the victim's credit, however, the thief was also involved in drug trafficking and gave the victim's information to law enforcement when she got into trouble. The result was an erroneous arrest record, an arrest warrant in the victim's name, and eventually a prison record when the thief was booked under the victim's name. All of this started when the thief stole the victim's application for rent from her landlord's property management office.
A woman's identification is stolen and the thief later used the victim's identification at a hospital to receive medical services when giving birth. After the thief delivered the baby, blood test results showed that the newborn tested positive for methamphetamine. The thief was already gone when this was learned, but because she used the victim's name and information, social workers then attempted to remove the victim's four children from her home.
A woman received a surprising medical bill in the mail- for the amputation of her right foot (when she in fact still had both of her feet). She found the process of being absolved of the fraudulent medical bills to be very difficult. However, later, after suffering a heart attack, the victim awoke in a hospital to hear a nurse ask her which medications she was taking to treat her diabetes (when she did not have diabetes). The woman who had stolen her identity did have diabetes yet this inaccuracy in medical records could have had serious consequences because diabetes patients have different heart surgery procedures from patients without diabetes.