How will identity theft affect ABI members' employees?

November 3, 2016 | Terry Ebke | Legal Shield/ID Shield |

Half of all Americans have had one or more ID stolen at some point in their lives, and the concerns about identity theft continue to grow. The amount of time it takes to recover from such a theft is detrimental to victims and their employers. It’s important to educate yourself on the risks and realities of identity theft and share that information with your employees. 

Question:   What is identity (ID) theft?
Answer: The short answer is that identity theft is a crime. Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Question:   What are the major types of ID fraud / theft?

  • Credit Fraud
  • Social Security Fraud
  • Driver’s License Fraud
  • Medical Fraud
  • Criminal / Character Fraud
  • Tax Return Fraud

Here are some ID theft facts:

  • 90 percent of ID theft victims find their address had been changed
  • The average ID theft victim doesn’t find out about it until 18 months after the theft occurred
  • Identity theft has become a legal problem and over 70 percent of victims need to hire an attorney to clear their good name
  • The FTC says ID theft has been the No. 1 consumer complaint for 16 straight years
  • ID theft of minors was up 347 percent over the last three years because the thief can use the stolen ID for many years before being detected 

Last year – 2015

  • 1 out of 3 Americans had their medical identity stolen
  • Overall, one half of all Americans have had one or more of their IDs stolen

Question:   The news reports mostly about Credit ID theft. Is that the major one to be concerned about?
Answer: We should be concerned about all types but Credit fraud / theft is only 17 percent of all ID theft. Often Credit fraud / theft can begin to be resolved by working with the bank or credit card company. But like the sinking of the Titanic, more may be lurking below the surface. And that is where the other 83% of ID theft comes into play and is of much more concern.

Question:   What is in the other 83 percent?
Answer: In 2015, Medical ID fraud accounted for 46 percent followed by DMV fraud (drivers license) at 34 percent

Stories heard about Identity Theft:

  1. A lady in eastern Iowa was stopped for speeding and found herself headed to jail. Her driver’s license had been stolen earlier and used in multiple states. The thieves didn’t pay traffic fines or appear in court and as a result she had multiple warrants out for her arrest.
  2. A family in Ankeny got an ID theft protection membership and subsequently learned that their 14 year-old son had three foreclosed houses in his name.
  3. A Des Moines metro individual had their medical ID stolen and used to purchase opioid painkillers at a number of area pharmacies. Police were ready to arrest the ID theft victim for drug dealing but a pharmacist alerted police with the description of a car involved with the purchases. Police apprehended the ID thief near Grinnell with 1,700 pills in the car on the way to Chicago to sell them.

On average, a person without a quality ID theft protection service will spend 600 hours away from work, trying to recover his or her own identity. If medical ID theft is involved, time away from work may be in the 900 hour range.

ID Theft affects your organization’s productivity, absenteeism and even your bottom line.

Like any protection, it is best to have coverage in place before the challenge arises.

The best ID theft protection service monitors everything that matters and has licensed private investigators to restore an identity – all while the person continues their day-to-day activities.