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Medical Identity Theft Rising During the Recession

by Staff Writer 12/1/2009 9:44:00 AM

An article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) online – “Patient ID Theft Rises” – states that medical identity theft is on the rise and expected to get worse as more people left uninsured after losing jobs in the recession use the coverage of friends, relatives, and even complete strangers to attain health care.

According to the WSJ article, medical identity theft – which occurs when someone uses another person's identity to obtain or make false claims for medical services or goods – is the fastest-growing form of identity theft, and the majority of the fraud is committed using patient information purchased from medical workers.

The WSJ also reports that the largest increases in medical identity theft are in retiree-heavy states such as Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Two examples of medical identity theft are cited in the article:

  • A clerk at a medical clinic in Florida gave the personal information of over 1,000 Medicare patients and to a relative who then made almost $3 million in false Medicare claims.
  • A man in Pennsylvania discovered that his identity was used by another person at five hospitals in order to receive more than $100,000 in medical treatments in his name.

Even more troubling than the financial consequences of unpaid medical bills, medical identity theft can leave the identity theft victim’s medical files riddled with incorrect information concerning blood type, allergic reactions to medicines, and overall medical history, the WSJ reports.

The best approach for consumers in dealing with medical identity theft, according to the nonprofit World Privacy Forum, is to request copies of medical records when going to the doctor in order to have accurate records on hand to rebuild medical files if medical identity theft should strike.

Keeping a close watch on ALL personal information – from medical files to credit reports to criminal records – is a good way for patients, consumers, and jobseekers to ensure that all personal data is up-to-date, accurate, and secure from all forms of identity theft. is a leading provider of consumer requested “personal” background checks that allow consumers to keep their private information up-to-date, accurate, and safe from identity theft and fraud. To learn how personal background checks can help prevent medical identity theft, visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364. Follow on Twitter at

Identity Theft Victim Strikes Back After Face To Face Meeting With Thief Who Stole Her Identity

by Tom Ahearn 9/8/2009 4:41:00 PM

A report out of Seattle, Washington – which shows that identity theft victims can strike back at criminals who steal their identities – tells the story of how a young woman suffering from identity theft helped bring down an identity theft ring after a chance face to face meeting with the woman who stole her identity.

As reported by the Seattle Times, in January of 2009 Michelle McCambridge, a 23-year-old retail store clerk and college student, found herself a victim of identity theft after someone had taken out department store credit cards in her name and racked up thousands of dollars in charges.

However, according to the Times, about a week after a federal agent had shown her a photo taken from surveillance footage of a woman wearing thick-rimmed glasses opening a card in McCambridge's name around Christmas time, McCambridge found herself face to face with the same woman – later identified as Stephanie Locke, 29 – who asked to open a credit account at McCambridge's counter at J.C. Penney.

The fast thinking McCambridge excused herself and had the store security cameras zoom in on a fake ID Locke was presenting with another woman's name, an action which set in motion a federal investigation that ultimately brought down an identity theft ring, a case that both federal agents and the prosecutor say would not have been possible without the identity theft victim's presence of mind, the Times reported.

According to the report, five people – including Locke, who has since pleaded guilty to reduced charges and faces prison time – were indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle and charged with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and misuse of Social Security numbers.

While McCambridge is just one of approximately 9 million people who suffer from identity theft each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this case is of particular interest because this identity theft victim – with the help of her father, who knew one of the investigators – became actively involved in the investigation, the Times reported.

People fighting identity theft need to take proactive steps before, and not just after, an incidence of identity theft. While checking credit reports can help deter financial problems related to identity theft, stolen identification can also be used by identity thieves to avoid taking responsibility for their criminal actions.

Individuals who want to make sure their criminal background checks are clear of any misinformation or inaccuracies stemming from identity theft that could prevent them finding employment, renting an apartment, or volunteering, may want to consider running a “personal” background check on themselves to keep their information up-to-date, accurate, and secure.

While most background check companies only service employers, provides consumer requested background checks for individuals to use as jobseekers, students, renters, volunteers, and consumers who want to protect themselves from identity theft and fraud.

For more information, visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364. To follow on Twitter, visit

Twitter, Social Media Identity Theft & Personal Background Checks

by Tom Ahearn 6/8/2009 1:59:00 PM

A recent article by identity theft expert Robert Siciliano outlines the damaging effects of a relatively new type of identity theft: Social Media Identity Theft.

While Siciliano warns that identity theft can happen to anyone (children, elderly, celebrities, politicians) of any financial means (poor, middle class, rich) and in many forms (criminal, medical, or business identity theft), one of the most damaging to a person’s professional character in society is Social Media Identity Theft, in which identity thieves pose as other people – usually rich and famous ones – in order to disrupt their lives, harass and stalk them or people they know, or steal their social media identity for financial gain.

The most recent victim of Social Media Identity Theft was the St. Louis Cardinals MLB team manager Tony La Russa. An identity thief created an account in La Russa’s name and posted derogatory and demeaning comments on – a free an extremely popular social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based updates of up to 140 characters known as “tweets.”

However, La Russa – who has filed a suit against – is just the latest in a line of celebrities to be targeted on the site. Months ago, the Twitter accounts of pop princess Britney Spears, Fox News (and anchor Bill O’Reilly), and even new President Barack Obama were all hacked and false and inappropriate messages were posted.

While Social Media Identity Theft is no doubt embarrassing and should be punished, the overall effects are less financially straining than other forms of identity theft that cost victims – most neither rich nor famous – both money and time. These ordinary people cannot just erase a fake message; they must deal with the real ramifications of criminal identity theft for years, even decades.

Preventing identity theft in all forms is becoming more difficult in today’s digital age due to the popularity of social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube. One method is to run a "personal background check" to view and manage Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as name, data of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN). In an effort to control PII, and online reputations, many individuals have preformed these personal background checks on themselves. Why? Because a personal background check can ensure that an individual's information is free of errors, inaccuracies, or discrepancies – and has not been taken over by an identity thief.

A personal background check is a series of different searches that are compiled into a single report using Personal Identifying Information to access various public and private sources to determine if any criminal, credit, employment, or other records exist. Companies like – one of the first web-based background check companies focusing on individual consumers – helps keep Personal Identifying Information used in background checks secure, accurate, and up-to-date. The company provides fast and affordable background check results tailored to the needs of consumers. These multi-use, portable background checks can be used as individual screening for jobseekers, students, renters, in-home help, contractors/vendors, and also as identity theft protection.

For more information on personal background checks, please visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

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Personal Identifying Information (PII) & Personal Background Checks

by Tom Ahearn 6/4/2009 10:32:00 AM

In a series of articles, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) takes an in-depth look at the impact identity theft has on individuals and society. The first part discusses the easy availability of Personal Identifying Information (PII) for identity theft.

From birth to death, everyone leaves a trail of Personal Identifying Information. What exactly is PII? The most recognized forms are:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Date of Birth
  • Driver's License Number
  • Birth Certificate

Besides these obvious choices, the federal Identity Theft & Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 states that a person’s PII – or “means of identification” – may also include any of the following:

  • Alien Registration Number
  • Government Passport Number
  • Employer or Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Unique Biometric Data (fingerprint, voice print, retina/iris image)
  • Unique Electronic Identification Number, Address, or Routing Code
  • Telecommunication Identifying Information or Access Device

The many forms of PII – and their prolific use in everyday life – make the task of controlling personal information next to impossible, and the chance for identity theft much greater. Since everyone with PII is vulnerable to identity theft, that Personal Identifying Information should be monitored as frequently as possible to expose any wrongdoing and lessen the risk of identity theft. One way this can be done with a "personal background check," which is a background check that individuals perform on themselves. Personal background checks, like background checks run by employers, reveal an individual's personal information. – a leading supplier of personal background checks for individuals – helps consumers view, monitor, and protect their PII. By requesting a personal background check, individuals are empowered with control of their own personal information. For more information on personal background checks to protect PII from identity theft, please visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

Contact Us @

Identity Theft Just Like A Hit-And-Run Accident

by Tom Ahearn 6/2/2009 10:33:00 AM

Drivers may want to keep the following story in mind if they ever get into a fender-bender in the future.

A Phoenix, AZ man was recently busted for committing identity theft on a hit-and-run victim. The man – who was accused of getting into an accident with the victim in 2008 – supposedly delivered a letter sent by some “detectives” that claimed the victim was at fault and needed to pay for damages.

The victim emailed the fake detective agency to say he was not at fault and received an email back with an attachment. After trying to open the attachment, the victim's computer crashed. Soon after that, he discovered his computer was infected with a virus and he found unauthorized charges on his credit card. He was a victim of another type of "hit-and-run" crime: identity theft.

A search of the accused man’s house uncovered keystroke logger software and documents and access devices with the victim's personal information. Investigators also discovered that someone obtained pre-paid credit cards using that information and had them delivered to a private mailbox rented in the victim's name with a fake driver's license.

In many ways, identity theft is like a hit-and-run accident, since the guilty party disappears and the victim is left with the damages. Most experts agree that identity theft could become far more prevalent because of the current economic situation. According to Javelin Research, almost ten million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2008, and that figure is expected to rise.

Identity theft is a federal crime in which a person obtains key pieces of personal identifying information (PII) – such as Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers – and uses them for personal gain. With identity theft, the best defense is a good offense. People need to know what is contained in their personal information – including criminal background checks – before identity theft strikes, not after. offers individuals background checks to help them to control their personal information and prevent identity theft. By giving themselves a personal background check, individuals can secure, monitor, and protect their PII. For more information on’s personal background check services, please visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

Contact Us @

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