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Criminal Identity Theft

Criminal identity theft occurs when an impostor commits a crime and provides your personal information, such as a drivers' license, date of birth, or social security number, to the authorities.  More often than not, impostors agree to appear in court but fail to do so, resulting in a warrant for arrest under the victim's name. Sadly, victims are often acquainted with the perpetrators, who may be close friends or family members of the victims.

To protect yourself, peruse our Identity Theft pages and follow the prevention guidelines. Besides ordering your credit history from the three credit bureaus each year, periodically obtain a copy of your driver's license record from your local DMV. Also, order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement from the Social Security Administration. Specifics on how to do so can be found on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website.

If you discover that you are a victim of criminal identity theft, explore the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website for important information on how to organize your case, work with law enforcement, and how to request a criminal record clearance search through your state Department of Justice criminal records unit.

For additional information on the problem of criminal identity theft, see the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse presentation on "The Growing Problem of Wrongful Criminal Records."

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