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An associate of mine recently discovered he was a victim of Identity Theft (links to the FTC website), as a result I discovered through speaking with the police that almost 95% of cases involving on-line Identity Theft are never prosecuted. I'm sure you're wondering why.
Apparently it becomes a jurisdiction issue. The thief may be sitting at his computer in Palm Springs, CA entering your information in on-line applications using his or her contact information, home address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, etc and having a duplicate card issued in their name. Simple right, we've caught him! This in and of itself is not enough to successfully prosecute the suspected thief. It now comes down to several issues one of them being jurisdiction. While the actual input of information occurred in Palm Springs, CA the server the web-site and application are hosted on may be in another city, state or country.
Local, state and federal police agencies now have the burden of proof placed on them and the victim to prove that a crime was committed. They have to prove that Stealing Steve was the one who actually sat down at the keyboard and performed the key strokes required to enter the information. Did you see him do it? Nope. Secondly, Vince Victim has to now make contact with all the creditors to determine how and when the application was submitted, how many cards were issued and to whom, credit limits, account numbers, if any charges were made etc. and most importantly if it was an on-line application do they log IP addresses and where is their server located.
If the server is located in New Delhi did the crime occur in Palm Springs, CA where the information was input or in New Delhi where the servers are housed, which then began the process of determining eligibility for credit? Not a simple question to answer and quite mind boggling when you stop to think about it. This is just one hiccup in our system. If accounts were applied for but no charges made to the accounts, there's no loss therefore no crime! What no crime? What about the fraudulent applications that were made? Again it becomes an issue of jurisdiction and whether or not you actually witnessed Stealing Steve input the information.
It's a vicious cycle when it comes to on-line identity theft; educate yourself at the Federal Trade Commissions web-site Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. With the influx of "mortgage companies" appearing on the internet it's important you know how to protect yourself. Many of these companies are not truly mortgage companies they're lead generation sites that sell your information to a willing buyer. There are no safeguards in place to protect you from Stealing Steve who may pose as a mortgage originator to gain access to the information you submitted to the on-line "mortgage company."
I remember a few years back I had a potential client request that I send her a copy of my California Department of Real Estate License, at the time I though this was a strange request. Looking back on it, with hindsight being 20/20 she was doing the right thing, protecting herself from possible identity theft. Remember when advertising is involved whether on-line, television, radio or newspaper there are no safeguards in place to verify that the advertiser is a legitimate licensed company. With the technologies we have today it's said to say "Buyer Beware" but, it appears to be truer today than it has in the past.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.