We have received reports from Pennsylvania about a female bank employee, who stole the identities of 18 customers for personal gain. She obtained the names, Social Security numbers and account information of the 18 customers by means of unlawful use of the bank’s computer and securing execution of documents by deception.
The bank employee obtained the names and Social Security numbers of the customers and sold them to a third party for $20 per name. The third party then used the information to create 15 fraudulent business checks that were cashed in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
Although the 18 bank customers had not necessarily been careless with their personal details (they entrusted their bank to safeguard their identities), it is nonetheless a reminder to all of us to take better care of our personal information.
The moral of the story is: Please take care of your Social Security number. Please destroy all correspondence that carries your name, your number and/or your address. Bank details are valuable pieces of information. Please destroy all bank correspondence, as it will have everything an identity thief will need to defraud you.
For more information on Identity Theft please see our publication on the subject: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10064.pdf
Being the butt of an April fool’s joke is fine when it is good-natured fun. However, no one wants to fall victim to a scam artist or identity thief.
You may think you are safe simply by not carrying your Social Security card with you and not providing your personal information over the Internet or by email. But scam artists have become shrewd. Be careful replying to an email claiming to be from Social Security and asking for your Social Security number or personal information.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you think you have been the victim of an identity thief, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft.