Identity Theft Targets Hispanic Community

Jose Marrero, who was born and lived his entire life in Puerto Rico, had no idea that someone else was using his name and Social Security number to charge thousands of dollars in Miami and Chicago. At least, not until the police showed up at his job to arrest him for car theft. Marrero told the Associated Press, “All of the information [on the warrant], all of it, the driver’s license, the Social Security, my address, was mine. I was shocked. I told them simply that it wasn’t me.”

In the U.S., a Puerto Rican’s identity is worth as much as $6,000, since it can be used to hide illegal immigrants. Like most personally identifying documents, Marrero’s were probably stolen from schools or church rectories.

Puerto Rican stolen identities have surfaced in immigration raids all over the country. “Birth certificates have become legal tender,” said Puerto Rico’s secretary of state. Here in the U.S. there are over 14,000 variations of the birth certificate. I personally have five versions of my own. That’s a stupid system.

Puerto Rico’s current solution is to void all existing birth certificates and have everyone reapply for new ones with better security, a plan that will make it harder to get fake documents in the future. But with millions of legal existing passports and driver’s licenses still valid, how is the real person identified?

The AP article states that the problem stems from the Puerto Rican tradition of requiring birth certificates to enroll in schools or to join churches, sports teams, or other groups. But the fact is, all Americans of every descent do the exact same thing. I remember having to bring my birth certificate with me to the YMCA summer camp. That’s why I have five, because we always needed duplicates for school, camp, even field trips!

Organized crime is likely involved in selling “tripletas,” consisting of a birth certificate, a Social Security card, and a driver’s license. Similarly, in criminal hacking communities, full sets of identifying information that can be used to steal an identity are packaged as “fullz” and sold for less than $100.

Victims face damaged credit, criminal records, and years of credit restoration. The time spent restoring one’s identity can potentially result in thousands of dollars in lost wages.

One victim, a 32-year-old married father of two whose credit has been ruined, told the AP that local authorities were dismissive: “They told me, ‘There are cases more important than that little case.’”

Not all identity theft can be prevented. However McAfee Identity Protection continually monitors your information and works to proactively protect you and will be there to assist you in the even your identity is compromised. Protect your most important asset, your identity.

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing illegal immigrant identity theft on Fox news. (Disclosures)

Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security: Illegal Immigration Possibly a Logical Catalyst of Identity Theft

(BOSTON, Mass. – Jan. 9, 2007 – Recent news reports reinforced the notion that many suspect a link between the rise in identity theft and increases in illegal immigration. The correlation was logical, according to Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert who went on to say that stolen Social Security numbers, which help someone to establish credit, are sought-after commodities for the undocumented worker.

“So many of the security holes in this nation stem from seeming intransigence and incompetence within the government, itself responsible for the collective security of all,” said Siciliano. “But government must be the inspiration for proper security of all kinds. The much-needed template for security against those who would steal Americans’ identities to hide here must come from the public domain.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. An experienced identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” on FOX News, and elsewhere.

Concerning the confluence of illegal immigration and identity theft, a Jan. 4th article from the Associated Press explored strong anecdotal evidence linking the two phenomena.

Three days later the Associated Press then reported that Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota’s Republican Governor, signed executive orders…to give state agents a role in enforcing immigration law and reviewing millions of driver’s license photos for possible fraud.” A related article, which ran in the West Central Tribune, noted that an effort to stem identity theft tied to illegal immigration fueled Pawlenty’s actions. His move was expected to encounter opposition from the state legislature, according to the AP report.

“The Social Security number is the key to the kingdom,” said Siciliano. “The issue of illegal immigration touches on this significantly. While their ‘undocumented worker’ status benefits them—and those who hire them—in ways, many illegal immigrants may strive to become faux legitimate through the use of stolen Social Security numbers. Given the preponderance of data breaches these past few years that placed literally millions of Social Security numbers in harm’s way, the logical conclusion is not too hard to make.”

Readers may view YouTube video below of Siciliano on “FOX News,” explaining how the ubiquity of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers helps thieves online and off-line. Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft, a major concern for anyone who has fallen prey to online scammers, may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.



Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site,; blog,; and YouTube page,

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557