If you are a high target identity, you need to be more diligent about protecting your valuable identity. Identity theft has many negative consequences such as ruined credit, bad press, private information disclosure, or wasted time and money for investigations and fraud resolutions. In order to address the protection of a valuable identity, we need to a) analyze and define what constitutes a valuable identity and why, b) decide whether your fall into the valuable identity risk category, and c) develop an action plan to safeguard your identity.
A high risk identity theft target is an identity that provides the most bang for the buck such as the "affluent wealthy" individuals. If you have excellent credit, access to information, a clean name without any criminal background, or if you are an entertainment celebrity, famous business person, high profile corporate executive, or a person with many information assets, you are a valuable person for identity theft. Identity crime committed under someone else’s name can be for various reasons whether it’s for money, getting information, applying for a job, getting medical help, or just feel famous for a short while. If your identity facilitates a high number of identity crimes faster and easier, then you are at a much higher risk of identity theft. Let’s explore some of the crime possibilities of identity theft:
Financial identity theft- If you have a good credit score and extensive financial accounts, your high target identity might be stolen to steal cash from your existing accounts or to apply for new credit accounts in your name. This crime category of identity theft is widespread and is not limited to just credit card fraud as widely believed. Identity crimes in this category can include false applications to obtain mortgages, buy cars, take over financial accounts for reasons such as to replace the beneficiary of a life insurance or an IRA, and purchase other objects that require a good credit standing. The crime possibilities in this category are endless and must be carefully considered in a person’s identity theft risk analysis.
Information theft - Whether we’re talking about access to celebrity information for money and curiosity purposes or some type of corporate espionage to gain information for competitive advantage or financial gains, identity theft is a real threat. When access to information is unavailable, the identity of a person with access to the desired information can also be used to steal the confidential information. There have been many reported cases of people working in the medical field with access to personal information who stole the medical records of celebrities for curiosity purposes and unfortunately sometimes for making money by selling the information to tabloids. There have also been cases of corporate espionage whereby a criminal pretended to be someone entitled to confidential information and gained access to such information. If you think businesses perfectly protect your shared information, think again. The medical information leaks prove otherwise.
Employment identity theft – A clean background with authorization to work and valuable employment history can be used by fraudsters to obtain employment and get paid for work performed under someone else’s name. There have been many reported cases of undocumented persons using the identity of a high target identity as related to this category to obtain employment.
Medical identity theft – This category is also widespread and very common whereby the identity of a person with medical insurance is stolen to get very expensive medical help and even costly cosmetic surgeries. This identity fraud category is the deadliest of all whereby an identity theft victim may be provided with the wrong medication or medical procedure as a result of unauthorized and unknown alteration of his or her medical records, potentially leading to the person’s death.
One thing to remember is that an identity can also be and is voluntarily lent to friends and family members to commit medical fraud such as using a friend’s medical insurance to get medical help which has devastating consequences for the society such as rising medical costs, which we all end up sharing.
As you can see, a high target identity might be stolen for many reasons; however, the right identity must be stolen to commit the specific identity crime. For example, an identity with ruined credit and multiple bankruptcies on file can not be used to open new credit accounts, thus successful execution of an identity fraud requires careful identity selection on the part of identity thieves. As such, if an identity can easily and quickly facilitate the desired crimes and with the highest impact, then that identity is a high target identity with many admirers.
Individuals with a high identity theft risk must be conscious of their precious identity value and consider the risks of identity theft any time they acquire additional identity components, or share personal information with their trusted entourage. You may consider reading my article about personal service provider risks. Each identity presents a unique set of identity theft risks that need to be evaluated, analyzed, and acted upon for maximum identity protection.