We promote the importance of identity protection every single day, but for this blog post, we’re letting these scary and real identity theft stories do the talking.
Passport theft connects Australian woman to murder plot
An Australian woman, Nicole McCabe, was 6-months pregnant and living in Israel when she found out she was wanted for murder. She was listening to the radio and a news bulletin proclaimed that 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.
It turns out that Nicole, along with the other two Australians, had their identities stolen. She was still in possession of her real passport, but the thieves used her personal information to create a new fake passport. Luckily, the fake passport did not have her picture on it — it was the thief’s photo — so the theft of her identity was a bit more obvious.
Meth addict house guest steals retiree’s life
When retired nurse Helen Anderson flew to visit her sick daughter, she let her niece Samantha housesit. She was, however, adamant that no friends were allowed over. When Helen returned home, she found Samantha in the house with her friend, Alice Lipski. Helen asked Alice to leave but didn’t think anything of it.
It turns out that Alice was an expert identity thief and a meth addict. After stealing mail and receipts from Helen’s home, she completely took over Helen’s identity, withdrawing money from existing bank accounts and opening new credit cards. She even signed up for a credit monitoring service so she could view Helen’s entire credit history. Alice reported every inactive card on Helen’s credit history as lost or stolen so she could get new cards, usernames, and passwords — locking Helen out of her own accounts. All of Helen’s mail was sent to Alice’s house.
She was finally caught after forgetting her purse at Macy’s, and charged with ten counts of identity theft; she and her friends had stolen nearly $1 million using the information of other people.
After mother’s passing, identity theft victim learns the truth
When Axton Betz-Hamilton learned her identity had been stolen, she had no clue who was responsible. Her parents had been victims of identity theft 20 years earlier, so she just assumed that whoever had stolen their identities had also stolen hers when she was a child. The truth came out, though, when her mother passed away.
Axton’s father found an old file box with a 12-year-old credit card statement in his daughter’s name. The card, however, had been issued in his wife’s name. Axton and her dad began going through all of her mom’s old belongings and they found a paper trail that revealed over 20 years of fraud. Her mom had stolen her identity, her father’s identity, and compromised her grandfather for about $1,500. They have no idea how much deeper the theft went, but most people never expect to be robbed by their own parents. Unfortunately, identity theft stories like this one aren’t all that uncommon.
IRS employee steals identities and commits tax fraud
Nakeisha Hall spent most of her career with the IRS working in Taxpayer Advocate Services, helping individuals who had been victims of tax fraud. In reality, she was actually stealing their identities from right under their noses. From 2008 until 2011, she used IRS computers to get access to names, birth dates, and social security numbers. She used the stolen information to submit fraudulent tax returns and requested the refunds on debit cards.
Overall, Nakeisha stole more than $400,000 — though that’s pocket change compared to the more than $1 million she tried to steal. She was ultimately convicted for her crimes and sentenced to nine years in federal prison.