Financial identity theft usually occurs when a person wants to steal somebody’s identity for financial gains, identity frauds or when the thief wants to make fraudulent transactions. At times the thief hacks the account so that the account holder remains unaware of the unlawful action and there he loses his credit protection too.
The impact of financial identity theft spreads around the globe and the increase in its number has led to financial losses. A victim may get to know about his financial loss, by noticing unusual withdrawals from his bank account and other emails. We get a unique social security number that is a very important identity proof. In case the SSN is lost or stolen, then we are at a risk of being victimised by many kinds of identity theft. This is one of the crimes that needs to be reported immediately, as soon as you realise that you have become a victim.
Here is a story that will give you a more detailed idea of financial identity theft:
Abraham Abdallah, a high school dropout committed one of the most intricate internet-based identity theft schemes in the ID theft history. The restaurant busboy breached credit card companies, banks and various other companies using stolen identities without being aware of the consequences of identity theft. He used the Internet and Forbes’ list of the richest people in America to steal the identities of some of the country’s richest people. Police called it one of the most ambitious identity theft schemes they have ever seen.
According to the New York Police Department, Abdallah scammed millions of dollars from people like CNN Founder Ted Turner, movie director Steven Spielberg, financier George Soros, billionaire Warren Buffet, businesswoman Martha Stewart, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and businessman Ross Perot. He stole the information from a computer present inside a New York-based library. He found Social Security Numbers, dates of birth and house addresses of more than 200 celebrities and business tycoons from this computer. He easily fooled banks by presenting himself financial representatives of these people. He also had more than 400 stolen credit card numbers, some of which were used for buying computer hardware and gold coins.
Defence attorney Sam Gregory said Abdallah was innocent. “Prosecutors made an unfair leap from the possession of this information to an inference that there was an attempt to take money.”
Abdallah was charged with various crimes including criminal impersonation, forgery, and fraud. According to the authorities, he even appeared as an “expert” on a training video on fraud prevention. What an irony!
Police Commissioner described Abdallah as “someone who was very innovative, very creative. . . He didn’t try to inquire. He was very organised. He would go one step at a time to build his database.”
His activities were monitored when an email request to transfer $10 million from an account belonging to Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems was received. Siebel said he never made the request. Police also found out about the mailboxes rented by Abdallah under the names of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and James Cayne, head of Bear Stearns. As a result, he was arrested.
You will find many organisations working on a global level to protect identity theft and thus you can protect your identity from theft. You do not have to be a target…
Ways to prevent financial identity theft:
Financial identity theft is too unfortunate that most of the businesses in the USA are affected by this crime. These are the thieves who misuse the advanced technology and attack the ordinary people through tricks involving frauds. Here are few ways through which you can protect yourself from financial identity fraud-
- Report your case to the Federal Trade Commission who takes care of all the identity theft cases.
- Keep monitoring your credit reports on a regular basis.
- Protect your Social Security Number from being lost or misused by strangers or even anyone you know.
- Creating strong passwords would surely help because thieves could not make lucky guesses if you have generated a strong password.
- You should record all the conversation during the troubleshooting and must keep copies of all the receipts that you get in return.
- Contact the credit issuers to block your cards in case you have lost your credit cards or they are being stolen.
It might happen that you will be a vulnerable victim of identity theft at least once in your lifetime, so, it is better to take preventive measures before being a victim. There is no certainty that you will be attacked or not, at times your family might be the target. Thus, you should not only take steps to protect your own credentials but also acknowledge your family and friends about this threat.