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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

A Model Citizen Makes the Perfect Target

Cynthia Berry was as committed to her children as she was to her job as a successful pediatrician. That’s why she was so surprised when one day she received a call from her bank informing Berry that her children’s nanny was present and trying to open up an account in her name. Not only did Berry’s children not have a nanny, but she knew better than to give anyone else permission to go near her bank accounts.

Even your co-workers could take advantage of your good credit
The teller informed Berry that the woman claiming to be her family’s nanny said she had been given permission to authorize an $23,000 advance towards a new checking account in Berry’s name. It turned out, the identity thief was not, in fact, a nanny, but a nurse in the same hospital that Berry had been working at. The nurse had gained access to Berry’s Social Security number, as well as her birth certificate, which the hospital had kept on file.

You have more to lose if you have good credit
However, Berry would soon learn that this incident wasn’t the first time the thief had attempted to use Berry’s information to open up new accounts. In fact, the nurse was able to open up more than 30 credit cards, buy nine cell phones, purchase a new sport utility vehicle and purchase an entire wardrobe before being caught. The total debt came to more than $75,000 for Berry, whose once pristine credit score had now been ransacked by a someone she worked alongside daily.

Without proper protection, all your hard work could be for nothing
In an interview with ABC News from 2005, Berry explains that she was the perfect target for this kind of identity theft because of her financial gains as a successful pediatrician. As well as a clean credit report, she had amassed a large savings account which the thief had been able to gain access too.

Had Berry been enrolled in a credit monitoring service, this headache may have been avoidable. Instead of getting a call from the bank too late to notice that there was strange financial activity taking place in her name, a credit monitoring service might have given her a heads up before a criminal left her with 75 grand in debt.