Financial Identity Theft definition states that it is a crime where a person steals another person’s financial information or personal data that leads to financial theft. The sole purpose of this type of theft is to steal a person’s identity in order to make transactions or purchases. Much cases of this theft occur through family members or friends who are easily able to catch hold of the important documents at your home.
Every year approximately 15 million Americans fall as the victims of financial loss and the average loss associated with each of these cases is approximate $3500. People in America get more news of identity theft cases as compared to any accident cases, while these incidents have altered the lives of the victims totally. There are many cases through which we get an idea how the identity thieves can steal your identity. You might be denied of buying your dream house, you might be called up and asked if you have made any suspicious purchase from an electronic store, you might be denied a student loan or a driver’s license etc. A shared story of financial identity theft will give you an idea, how it may happen to you too.
Phillip Cummings, an ex-employee of Tele-Data Communications, Inc., a Long Island, New York City-based Software Company, executed an identity theft crime which is beyond imagination. It is considered as the largest identity theft in U.S. history. On an average, the financial identity theft cases noted are 15 million that lead to a financial loss of more than $50 billion every year, in the United States.
Cummings, a resident of Carterville, Georgia accessed the credit information at the software company that provided banks with online access to their credit information. He used his access to credit information, to resell credit reports and other information to a Nigerian identity theft ring. The criminal network evidently robbed over 30,000 victims of $100 million and the scheme continued for several years until the FBI found out and ended it.
The authorities found that Cummings sold passwords for acquiring consumer credit reports to unknown people. He was paid around $30 for each report he sent. This information was further sent to many people who made money using this information.
It is also found that Nigeria is one of the leading countries in the world for identity fraud and other types of financial crimes that robbed people all over the world of billions of dollars.
Barbara Cusumano, a resident of Port Washington, N.Y. was illegally charged with $1500 to her credit card by an unknown person in Florida. She said it was very challenging to draw the attention of the police as the loss of amount was not very much. The local police said that the case could not be investigated as the amount loss was less than $5000. Although, when the FBI found that her case was a part of a large-scale scam, they considered her case. According to her “identity theft really does amount to a great deal of loss by a lot of people in a lot of states.”
Cummings cried at the time of sentencing when his childhood friend Patrick Fagan told the judge he was “not an evil person.” Cummings apologized before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels. “I’m very, very sorry for my conduct,” said Cummings. He asked the judge to be lenient as he needed a heart transplant, but the judge refused as the crime was very severe.
The judge said that the damage he caused was “almost unimaginable” and the case “emphasized how easy it is to wreak havoc on people’s financial and personal lives.” He said the impact in “dollars and the number of individuals and the personal suffering and consequences for individual victims is almost unimaginable.” Cummings was imprisoned for 14 years.
Apart from this crime, there is a lot more to understand and know, that even our children are not safe in today’s time. Our children may also become the next victims of identity theft. Child identity theft is another heinous crime that will lead the future of your child at stake. Before it is too late, you need to observe few things, that seem negligible to us but we need to understand the value of safeguarding them. There are many damages caused due to such identity theft cases and it is important for you to keep a regular check on your credit cards, passwords, bank accounts etc. the losses of financial identity theft include:
1. Tax fraud
2. Credit and debit card fraud
3. Mortgage and other loan fraud
4. Damaged credit
5. Checking and savings account fraud
6. Investment account fraud etc.
This is very unfortunate that most of the businesses and consumers face identity theft and financial frauds that lead them to the bottom line. You only need to ask yourself are you safe? If not, then you need to ponder upon few things like monitoring your financial accounts and records regularly. Your personal information if protected, you too are protected.