It seems like Americans can’t get enough of crime dramas or reality TV. But if your name popped up on Dateline NBC, wouldn’t it be surreal? Yet stranger things have happened. As ConsumerAction.org noted recently, every day innocent people have their identities stolen and used to commit crimes, and the victim doesn’t know until they find themselves facing charges.
Maybe someone uses your identity to get a fake driver’s license in your name, and you end up being charged with a moving violation. Perhaps when you apply for a job, the background check reveals a string of minor offenses committed in your name— that weren’t you. Or maybe someone rents space for a drug lab using your name, and the next thing you know, law enforcement shows up at your house with a warrant for your arrest.
Using a stolen identity to cover criminal activity isn’t the most common form of identity theft, but it can be one of the most serious (along with medical identity theft). A stolen identity is more valuable to a criminal than a burner phone or stolen credit card, because it allows them to operate under the radar of law enforcement. They can rent space, buy guns, travel, and commit fraud in your name without raising any red flags, and it all goes on your record.
You can help prevent criminal identity theft the same way you do any other kind: keep your personal information private, never share it with strangers, and whether it’s digital or hardcopy, destroy it securely when you’re finished with it. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent your information being stolen as part of a data breach, so criminal identity theft can happen. And once you’re pegged as a criminal, it’s extremely difficult, and often demoralizing, to try to clear your name.
Your best defense is to have people like the MyIDCare team on your side, because we know what’s involved in identity theft recovery. We have a proven record of working with law enforcement to clear a victim’s record, and we can protect you from much of the stress of trying to prove that you are not a crook. By recovering your identity, you’ll not only clear your name, you’ll also be doing some real-life crime stopping of your own by cutting off the criminals who are using it.