Governmental identity theft and fraud occurs when an imposter uses a victim’s personally identifiable information to obtain employment, obtain a driver’s license, receive unemployment benefits or receive any other state or federal benefits or aide.
Governmental identity theft does not always immediately affect one’s credit so checking a credit report or having a credit monitoring service will not always alert a victim to the crime.
Victims of governmental identity theft discover that their identity is being used in different ways and include the following:
- When the victim is seeking a job and the employer runs a background check, the results will indicate that the victim is already employed.
- The victim receives notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that their Social Security number has already been used in a previous tax return and as such the IRS is unable to process the return that they filed.
- A victim of criminal identity theft may discover that the reason the criminal identity thief was able to commit a crime in the victim’s name is because they obtained a fraudulent driver’s license using their identity.
- A victim who is receiving unemployment or other state or federal benefits will receive notification that their benefits are being terminated because income is being reported under their Social Security number because an identity thief is working under their identity.
There are many other ways that a victim could be alerted that they have fallen victim to governmental identity theft, but they have to be watchful for any clues that something is afoot. Should you discover that someone is using your identity to commit governmental identity theft you should do the following:
- Request your Social Security Earnings Information report using form Social Security Administration (SSA) Form 7050.
- After reviewing your Earnings History Report, remove any incorrect information using form SSA Form 7008 – Request for Correction of Earnings Record.
- File your next year’s tax returns as early as possible to avoid having the identity thief file a fraudulent tax return under your name before you do. The IRS does not verify that a return filed under your Social Security number and information is actually you, so it is first file first serve.
- In the case of someone using the victim’s identity for employment, check with the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation in the state where the identity thief worked to ensure they did not obtain a fraudulent driver’s license using the victim’s identity.
- And, as always, you can call the Identity Theft Resource Center at (888) 400-5530 or visit our website at www.idtheftcenter.org.
"What is Governmental Identity Theft?" was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.