In a story that could have come right out of a movie, a widely respected police officer turned out to be a Mexican national who stole an American identity and moved to Alaska to become a cop. I’ll bet Sarah Palin didn’t see this one coming.
Fox News reports that the identity thief had been employed as an Anchorage police officer using his assumed name since 2005. Police and federal prosecutors said he didn’t have a criminal record. He does now!
“Federal agents processing a renewal request for his passport discovered the alleged fraud. He was arrested Thursday after authorities searched his home and found documents confirming his true identity, officials said. The passport fraud case is similar to one involving a Mexican national who took the identity of a dead cousin who was a U.S. citizen in order to become a Milwaukee police officer in 2007.”
Crimes like this are possible because citizens have yet to be identified effectively and reliably. We are identified solely by paper documents and photographs, and our Social Security numbers are our primary identifying account numbers.
All an identity thief needs is your Social Security number, which they can use to apply for additional documentation and, eventually, a passport or driver’s license in your name. Once they begin this process they will also apply for credit under your name and, in most cases, ruin your credit history.
You will not know someone has obtained a passport or driver’s license under your name until there is a problem, unless perhaps a red flag pops up when renewing your identification. But by then, whoever has obtained identification in your name will probably have run up unpaid credit card bills in your name, too. That’s where identity theft protection comes in.
McAfee, the most trusted name in digital security, includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information, as well as access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers work through the process of resolving identity theft issues. For additional tips, please visit CounterIdentityTheft.com.