Identity Theft Discovered via Social Media

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Fraudsters use social media sites to pilfer personal information and steal identities, and sometimes use the stolen identity to commit other types of fraud. In today’s fraud from an Office of the Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) web summary, identity fraud came to light through social media.

The OIG summary reported that in 1991, a Russian national whose ”U.S. visa was expiring” used information belonging to a man with dual U.S. and Irish citizenship ”to obtain a passport and Social Security number. The Russian national ”later obtained a mortgage and student loans” under the man’s name.

The fraud was discovered in 2010, when the U.S./Irish national realized that another man was using his identity on a social media site (Ah, social media can cut both ways). An investigation ”resulted in charges of identity theft, false statements on loan applications, false use of a Social Security number and passport fraud,” and the Russian man was subsequently convicted on all counts. A federal judge sentenced him to 48 months in prison.

This fraud is a good reminder that we can’t guard our personal information too carefully. And that identity thieves can be hiding in plain sight. The Russian national in this case used the other man’s identity for almost 20 years.

So, here’s the question of the day? when was the last time you searched for yourself on the Internet?

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Russian National Convicted for Identity Theft and Making False Statements to SSA,” published by Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Social Security Administration on March 8, 2012.

A federal judge sentenced Evgueni Tetioukhine to 48 months in prison for identity theft and fraud. Tetioukhine lived in the United States for almost 20 years, posing as another man who has dual Irish and U.S. Citizenship. In 1991, as his U.S. visa was expiring, Tetioukhine used information belonging to Fionghal S. MacEoghan to obtain a U.S. passport and Social Security number. He later obtained a mortgage and federal student loans in MacEoghan’s name.

In 2010, the real Fionghal MacEoghan, living in Ireland, discovered through Facebook that another person was using his identity. Warwick police were notified and a subsequent investigation resulted in charges of identity theft, false statements on loan applications, false use of a Social Security number and passport fraud.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.