Don’t Fall Victim: 3 Real Stories of Identity Theft

Identity theft is the only crime where the victim must prove their innocence. It happens to thousands of people around the world, every day. Everyone, even children, can fall victim despite age, race, ethnicity, income, or gender.

Identity thieves aren’t always strangers.

A 38-year-old female learned her identity had been stolen after her mother’s passing. She had no clue who was responsible. Her parents had been victims of identity theft 20 years prior. She assumed whoever had stolen their identities had also stolen hers when she was a child.

Her father found an old file box with a 12-year-old credit card statement in her name. The card, however, had been issued in her mother’s name. After sifting through her mother’s belongings, they found a paper trail revealing over 20 years of fraud.

Her mother had stolen her identity, her father’s identity, and compromised her grandfather for about $1,500.

To read the full story, click here.

Identity theft can prosecute the wrong person.

A six-month pregnant Australian woman found out she was wanted for murder when listening to the radio and news bulletin. She was living in Israel at the time. The arrest warrant proclaimed three Australians were being linked to a Dubai hit squad, Mossad, that was responsible for assassinating Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Her name was one of those read by the announcer.

She, and two other Australians had their identities stolen. The thieves stole her information to create a fake passport. Luckily, she still possessed her real passport, and the fake passport did not have her picture on it — it was the thief’s photo.

To read the full story, click here.

Celebrities aren’t excluded from identity theft.

A 35-year-old male from Los Angeles impersonated Demi Moore and reported her no-limit American Express card as stolen. He then intercepted the replacement card from a FedEx location before it could be delivered. Over the next 25 days, the male went on several lavish spending sprees, both online and at luxury retail stores. His charges exceeded $169,000 before Moore noticed and reported the theft.

He was later identified as the culprit when federal investigators obtained surveillance videos of him shopping with her stolen card.

To read the full story, click here.

Warning signs your identity was stolen:

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You stop receiving mail, even junk mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifies you of more than one tax return was filed in your name, or you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

Have you or someone you know been impacted by identity theft?

Check out our Step-by-Step Guide: If You Suspect Fraud or Identity Theft  article for action items of how to get your identity back.

For more information:

Report identity theft and find out what to do if you’ve been victimized: https://www.identitytheft.gov

Monitor your credit report and check it annually: https://www.annualcreditreport.com

Find a complaint against rip-off schemers and scam artists: https://www.ftc.gov


NexTier Bank, N.A. does not endorse or guarantee the products, information or recommendations provided by linked sites. NexTier Bank is not liable for any failure of products, services or information provided through third party sites. Third party linked sites may have privacy policies that differ from NexTier Bank; and linked sites may or may not provide the same level of security.