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Robert Siciliano

Robert Siciliano

Posted: August 12, 2010 04:59 PM

Identity cloning generally encompasses all types of identity theft. In most cases, the thief is intentionally living and functioning as the victim. The thief's motivation may be to hide from the law, evade child support, or skirt immigration.

A man lived a quiet life with a steady job. But he wasn't who he claimed to be. He was an identity thief. The ruse was so elaborate that his own girlfriend said she was unaware of it.

His victim lived hundreds of miles away and for over a decade, he was unaware that his identity had been stolen. When the victim applied for a passport for the first time, he learned that someone else already had a passport under his name, and had since 1996.

Prosecutors aren't even sure of the perpetrator's real name. The man claims he's a German national who entered the country under his real name in 1983 via Mexico. He even got a birth certificate and a driver's license.

In cases of identity theft, generally, the goal is to commit financial fraud. Kind of like a smash and grab. The thief comes in, wreaks havoc, makes a mess, destroys your credit, and then moves on to another victim. But with identity cloning, the person may actually pay the bills and live a decent life.

In some cases, though, that person may also be a sex offender or have other recurring legal troubles. Either way, at some point, there is inevitably a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Some people spend hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and face years of aggravation.

Our systems of identification rely on antiquated paper and plastic documents, often without photographs, coupled with ubiquitous numeric identifiers. Since the beginning and especially today, all forms of documentation are easily counterfeited. This means anyone can simply copy, scan, manipulate, and print a document, obtain your digits, and become you.

This means that your identity is anything but safe and secure. It is entirely vulnerable to attack, and may already be compromised.

Your best option is to lock it down in a way that makes it difficult for an identity thief to use it undetected, and in some cases makes your identity useless to a thief. And if your identity is ever compromised, McAfee Identity Protection fraud resolution agents work with you to restore your stolen identity.

 

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