Easier said than done

The arrest statistics for Identity theft are extremely low, somewhere around 5%. that means that 95% of identity thieves get away with it.  It’s a very low risk crime for the criminal.  Many people think the police should just arrest the thieves.  It’s a nice thought but much easier said than done.  After 12 year with a police department let me outline why these thieves can get away with theft.

Police departments do not have the resources to investigate every identity theft report they get.

In large metro areas the police force is already stretched thin responding to calls, patrolling their assigned areas, investigating crimes that occurred locally and doing traffic control.  They just don’t have the manpower to investigate each identity theft case that falls into their laps.

 Jurisdictional issues

You may live in Florida while the thefts can originate from anywhere.  The thief may be doing the stealing from California, but they are ordering from a company in Texas.  That creates a problem for law enforce since there is at least three different agencies involved and all limited to their own jurisdiction.  The Florida agency cannot do anything in California where the thief has an address and is committing the crime, the California agency can’t do anything about the fraud which occurred in Texas.  All they can try to do is coordinate thier investigations, but again we come down to the manpower issue.  The florida agency may know the address the thief is using, but that does not mean that the California Agency has anyone available to investigate it.  Now imaging this on a global scale. You are in the US and and your information is being used in Indonesia.

 The person using your information is not the one who stole it and there may be multiple people using your information.

People are being bought and traded in underground chat rooms like the newest hottest commodity.  It’s a black market version of Wall Street or E-bay.  Identity theft rings buy the information from the local thieves(who stole it from you or someone who has access to it).  The Identity theft rings “broker” the information to the “suppliers” and “consumers”.

Suppliers are usually criminal cartels providing false documentation to illegal immigrants that the cartels buy in bulk from identity theft rings.  US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are contantly busting up these rings.  You can visit their site at www.ice.gov Check out the news releases on Document Fraud and Workplace Enforcement.

Consumers are the individuals who purchase your information. They may wish to steal your credit, cover their own criminal past, hide their illegal immigrant status, get medical benefits or to use it for any of the same things you would use your information for like get a job.

Often when you get this deep into it, the information is crosing international borders.  The information that a waitress at Red Lobster stole from you while she was off somewhere processing your credit card was sold by her to a local ring.  That local ring then sold it to a clearing house in say Siberia. It now flows through that clearing house to chat rooms where it is auctioned off to the highest bidder who may be using it themselves or creating fraudulent driver’s licenses and social security cards..

When you do realize that you are a victim, the information may have travelled around the world and back; and it could be months or even years after the information was first stolen.  Identity theft is a complex and complicated crime the only thing we can do is to be aware, informed and prepared.  I am dedicated to making you aware and informed, Identity Theft Shield is a good way to be prepared

Sold!!! To the Highest Bidder!

This is a short excerpt from Frances Ellen Watkins poem The Slave Auction


The sale began—young girls were there,
   Defenseless in their wretchedness,
Whose stifled sobs of deep despair
   Revealed their anguish and distress.


And mothers stood, with streaming eyes,
   And saw their dearest children sold;
Unheeded rose their bitter cries,
   While tyrants bartered them for gold.


And woman, with her love and truth—
   For these in sable forms may dwell—
Gazed on the husband of her youth,
   With anguish none may paint or tell.

There is a reason that I included that in this post.  Hi-tech ‘auctions’ put unsuspecting people on the auction block everyday.  Thousands of people are bought and sold at auction everyday and they don’t even know it!

Identity thieves put people up for sale everyday in underground chat rooms.  These thieves trade in our personal information Like Wall Street day traders haggling over pork bellies and we don’t even know it.  Security Breaches and datalosses occur almost everyday exposing our personal information.  What happens to that information when it is lost?

Losing information in a security breach is not like losing your sunglasses.  You can’t ‘get it back’.  Once it has been exposed it is exposed from that moment on.  That’s because Personal Information is not a physical item you can secure again.  You can get your sunglasses back and know that they are safe in your possession.  Tell someone your name and you cannot take it back and make them forget.  If you have ever been notified that your information was exposed or lost you need to keep in mind that it is still exposed months or even years later.  Lose it once and it is gone forever.