Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
When I was 17, my friend “Baldo,” as he was known by all, was the Fake ID Master. He also fixed TV’s and still does today. But he didn’t actually create “fake IDs,” he altered real ones. The technology he used back then is still used today. It’s called Crayola Crayons. He would take a Massachusetts ID and heat the laminate over the stove and peel it back. Then he’d dab a premixed batch of liquid aqua green/blue crayon on the left side of an 8 to make it a 3. He’d bust out his heating iron and some wax paper and seal up the laminate. Then a 17-year-old became 22, using the same technology my 1 year old eats. Packy run, anyone?
Today is a little different. It’s not so easy to peel back the laminate. Most cards today are treated plastics: PVC, styrene, polypropylene, direct thermal, and teslin hybrids. However, while all that sounds technically challenging, it’s really not. Some of the do-it-yourself ID making machines are the size of a shoebox. It is however a tad more complicated than that. Sure you can go to your local office supply and buy ID making materials or simply buy fake IDs online, but will they pass the muster when put in front of numerous technologies that look for tampering?
That’s where the $10,000 fake ID comes in. In New York, authorities busted an identity theft ring and charged 22 people with selling driver’s licenses and other identification documents.
Among those implicated in the ring are two New York State Department of Motor Vehicles employees, who are believed to have earned over a $1 million dollars issuing more than 200 licenses and other documents over the past three years. The alleged ring leader of the group was identified as Wilch Dewalt, also known as “Sharrief Sabazz” Muhammad’ and “License Man.” Authorities say he acted as a broker who, in exchange for a fee of between $7,000 and $10,000, served as a one-stop shop for fraudulent documents.
In this case, the clients who were dropping 10G on IDs were people who were hiding from the law in plain sight, including felons, a drug dealer whose claim to fame was once a cameo on “America’s Most Wanted,” and someone from the government’s No Fly List. These were people that: A) could afford it and, B) needed the best of the best in real fake identification.
In the meantime, identity theft is again the top 2009 consumer complaint, the FTC reports. The number of American identity fraud victims rose 12% last year to 11.1 million, with losses hitting $54 billion, according to an annual report from Javelin Strategy & Research.
Protect your financial identity.
1. Get a credit freeze and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
2. Invest in anti-virus and keep it auto-updated and check out my spyware killer IDTheftSecurty HERE
4. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)