3 Recent Cases of Identity Theft

September 9, 2017

Identity theft never affects people in the same way twice, but there is a lot to learn from individual experiences with theft or fraud. While the larger data breaches are usually the ones that get the most attention, it doesn't take a huge coordinated attack to put your personal information at risk. Here are three true examples of theft to show you how the smallest theft can affect you in a big way.

 

Guilty Verdict for Iowa Tax Preparer

Back in December, the Des Moines-based local CBS news affiliate reported on the case of Lony Tap Gatwas, a tax preparer, charged with several different criminal counts, including "aggravated identity theft." Gatwas falsely listed his and other children as dependents on his client’s tax returns, instructing them to lie to federal agents about the dependents when they were audited.

Gatwas was found guilty of wire fraud and identity theft in the preparation of false tax returns.

While he was he did it to “help” his clients receive larger returns, the Gatwas story still shows the perils of tax fraud. The IRS maintains a list of tax-related identity theft warning signs for citizens to follow. With this in mind, you can be on the lookout not just for fraud from the outside, but for tax professionals trying to coerce you into potentially illegal actions.

Alleged Florida Identity Thief Nabbed

A man in West Palm Beach was reportedly using stolen information for online orders, even using a driver's license with the incorrect name on it, according to local authorities once they apprehended him.

What makes this story interesting is the way the details came out. The name that the thief was using belonged to someone who used to live at the address used. The UPS delivery driver responding to the orders was the one who noticed the discrepancy and contacted the authorities as a result.

Compared to many of the other identity theft stories out there, this might seem relatively small, but it's still a sign of how easy it could be for someone to exploit your information, long after you've moved on. This is why it's useful to review your financial standing, especially your credit, to see for certain if any unauthorized changes have occurred without your knowledge. In this particular case, identity monitoring would be able to assist through public record monitoring and change of address might have been more appropriate, to go beyond financial data and look at other types of personal information.

Colorado Man with Skimmers Arrested

Let's look at one final story about another man accused of identity theft, this one reportedly caught red-handed. Fox News 21 reported on a Colorado man named Alberto Brioso who allegedly had card-skimming equipment in his home. Police executed a search and found a gas pump skimmer, two ATM skimmers, used gift cards and an electronic credit card recorder in Brioso’s home, and even more in his car. Brioso was also said to be involved with money laundering.

In case you don't know, "skimming" refers to the ways some identity thieves steal card data. As the Identity Theft Resource Center said, this often involves replacing legitimate card readers with devices for obtaining information that the customer mistakes for a genuine card slot.

Once the card is swiped, the skimming device could secretly record the numbers for criminal use, such as selling them on the black market. The story about Brioso didn't specifically delve into the ways he was suspected of using the obtained information, but it did say that police found a device for recording credit cards at his home, suggesting he was planning to do just that, or had perhaps already done it.

Protect yourself and your data

There are so many ways thieves can target your data and identity that it feels like you have to be on alert all the time. This is where Identity Guard can help. We offers credit and public record monitoring that will alert you of certain activities that may indicate fraud. Learn more and start you identity protection journey today!

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