Taking Candy from Babies

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Have you ever heard of the saying: ”It’s like taking candy from a baby”? The expression explains the ease in taking something from a defenseless entity. What if we changed the expression to say: ”It’s like stealing a Social Security number (SSN) from a child?” Doesn’t the change project the same idea? Kids are just as defenseless when it comes to protecting their identities, as a baby is defenseless when it comes to protecting candy. According to a WCSH Portland 6 article, one man found it easier to steal an identity from a child. Did I mention the child was his own?

We’ve heard the stories of fraudsters obtaining SSNs from unknowing individuals to assist in their fraud scams. But, it is not often we encounter thievery from within the family. Officials discovered a Maine man had used his child’s SSN to defraud the federal government of welfare benefits. The fraudster pleaded guilty to making false statements and aggravated identity theft in January 2013, and was ordered to pay $29,000 in restitution. (That’s it? You steal from your own children and just get a slap on the wrist and a hefty payback?)

An investigation tracked the scam to its beginning in June 2010, where the father used his child’s SSN on job applications. In addition, he neglected to file wages earned under that SSN to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and received welfare and housing benefits for which he was not eligible. (Can we imagine the type of time-out a child would get from this type of behavior? Isn’t a little jail time a fair equivalent?) As if taking his own child’s identity wasn’t enough, the investigation revealed the fraudster obtained other SSNs and opened lines of credit at several financial institutions.

Sometimes people like to keep their problems ”in the family.” In this fraudster’s case, he not only kept his problem in the family, but he dragged his family into the problem. Most kids want their dad to cheer them on in their sports game; this kid got ripped off, literally.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Lisbon Man Gets Four Years for Identity Fraud” and published by the WCHS6 Portland on May 23, 2013.

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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.