Theft of childrens’ SSNs a growing problem
Arizona Department of Public Safety detectives arrested a couple applying for a $159,000 home loan using stolen social security numbers and other false documents.
Jose Ozuna Alvarez and Ana Laura Balerrama are both illegal aliens. Investigators said they got jobs, bought as many as three new vehicles and obtained multiple credit cards using stolen social security numbers – one belonging to a nine-year-old child.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding the pair for deportation, according to a report by KTAR News.
Seeing Red AZ has previously reported on this pervasive and reprehensible criminal activity. A company known as Identity Theft 911 estimates that in Arizona alone, some 1.57 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, have been victims over the last six years.
About one-fifth of the victims are children — whose Social Security numbers are especially valuable targets, since children usually aren’t employed, making discovery of the fraud unlikely until years after it has occurred.
One of the most alarming aspects of the criminal activity involves health-care employees with access to children’s medical files, working for organized gangs that trade in illegal documents and are willing to pay handsomely for the data. “We have a major problem with workers in medical offices stealing patients’ identities, selling them and making a direct profit,” says Sergeant James Bracke of the Phoenix Police Department.