In 2013, the FBI arrested a ring of identity thieves responsible for more than $13 million in losses over a two-year period, from 2007 to 2008. Tobechi Onwuhara, a Nigerian national, impersonated victims across the country to scam their credit card companies into transferring millions of dollars from their customers’ home equity line of credit (HELOC) accounts, and the information he and his confederates used to identify victims was primarily collected through public sources. In other words, any efforts by the individual victims to foil the perpetrators would likely have been futile.
How Identity Thieves Access Your Information
Onwuhara’s expertise was his ability to collect and combine disparate pieces of personal and financial information available free or for a fee to anyone from legitimate sources of private information. His skill allowed him to impersonate credit card holders to have open credit lines monetized to his benefit.
Some of his favorite sources of data included:
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