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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Protecting the Identities of Professional Athletes

Pro athletes are high-profile individuals who regularly rake in millions of dollars for their teams in terms of attracting spectators, advertising and endorsements. However, because the names of certain celebrity athletes retain so much value, it isn’t uncommon for others to use their likenesses for personal gain without the permission of these superstars. While this is a frequent problem for athletes when it comes to endorsements or commercial dealings, it has also become an issue in terms of full-on identity theft, with individuals using lucrative personal identification information to open up new accounts and cash in on thousands of dollars.

For a professional or college athlete, having such a high profile tends to make them prime targets for this kind of false representation. However, there are laws in place throughout the country that protect these idols from fraud and ID theft should the worst happen.

For instance, there was a precedent setting case involving 1930’s college football superstar David O’Brien that established the original right for publicity law in 1941. When O’Brien’s name and likeness were used by the Pabst Brewing Company to endorse their beer product, the football star took legal action to protect his image and his compensation. This led to a number of other cases that, in subsequent decades, secured the identities of these celebrity athletes against fraud or theft.

However, private citizens still face a litany of court battles and financial quagmires when they have their identities stolen, which is why credit monitoring services are great ways to keep an eye on their finances and credit score, alerting these individuals to certain activity that may indicate fraud or attempted identity theft.