Losing your license without even knowing it - AmericaNowNews.com

Safety

Criminal Identity Theft: Losing your license without even knowing it

According to court documents, Krystle Frederick is a dangerous driver with a list of charges under her name which she has no memory of committing.

The state of South Carolina says Rob Moody is driving with a suspended license.

Frederick and Moody quickly learned they were victims of criminal identity theft.

"My first reaction was, 'Are you kidding me?'," said Moody.

Criminal identity theft usually happens during a vehicle-related incident. The imposter tells the officer they don't have their license and offers up someone else's name and birthday.

Sometimes, they hand over a stolen or fake identification.

"You would assume police would look at anything presented to them with a suspicious eye," Moody said. "It's their job to be suspicious."

Forging a signature on the ticket is easy, but some thieves are even brave enough to show up in court and plead guilty to crimes committed under the victim's good name!

Attorney Laura Baker is with the Baker Billick, P.A. law firm located in Concord, NC.

She says criminal identity theft can happen between strangers, but more often between jilted friends and family members who resemble one another.

"The appearances are so close that the officer or trooper doesn't notice the difference," Baker said.

She says months later in court it's unlikely the officer will remember the identification he was given, or the person's appearance.

Seeking repercussion against the violator or catching them is nearly impossible. Even if law enforcement is able to find the person, the damage is already done.

"I'm out a $100 and a whole day because I had to go to South Carolina, come back, that's fuel, time--all because someone else obviously had my information to convince an officer that they were me," Moody said.

The burden of clearing a victim's name is on the victim. Since the procedures vary from state to state, experts recommend working with an attorney to navigate the complex legal system.

"Eventually, they could have quite a mess on their hands," Baker said.

She says calling the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state is priority number one so they can flag your record for possible fraud.

Then, it's off to both your local law enforcement agency and the agency who made the initial arrest.

A case of identity theft and misidentification needs to be filed.

It's likely your fingerprints, your photo, documents and even your signature will need to be compared to confirm you're in clear.

Keep a detailed log of all conversations and correspondence with authorities.

Make sure you receive a declaration of your innocence, a document that now you should never be without.

Anyone can be a victim, but everyone can and should stay one step ahead of criminals.

Moody also recommends paying attention to what you put in your junk mail pile.

"If you get something that looks official from a state agency, go ahead and look at that," Moody said.

Once you have been victimized, make a yearly visit to your DMV and police department.

"Go ahead and run your criminal history as well as your driving history to make sure everything on there is you," Baker advised.

This kind of routine check-up on your identity's health is what's needed to set and keep the record straight.

It's not recommended that you change your Social Security number right away if you've been a victim of any kind of id theft because this wipes out your financial, work and college history.

However, you may want to request a new license number.

Talk to your attorney to see what's best for your case.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:

The following information is from PrivacyRights.org (Source: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17g-crimidtheft.htm).

  • Criminal identity theft occurs when an imposter gives another person's name and information (license, date of birth, Social Security number) to an officer during an investigation or upon arrest. An imposter may also present a fake license containing another person's data.
  • The imposter may use a friend or relative's name if they do not have photo ID.
  • Many cases involve a traffic violation where the individual is released from the
    arrest. The imposter signs the citation and promises to appear in court.
  • If they do not come to court, a warrant is issued, but it is done under the victim's name.
  • The victim may unexpectedly be detained at a routine traffic stop, arrested and taken to county jail because of the outstanding warrant.
  • In some cases, the imposter will appear in court and plead guilty. In other cases, they will be booked for a felony (drunk driving). The victim's name is then recorded in a database of criminal records.
  • Victims' often find out when they are denied a job or terminated from employment.
    Employers are legally obligated to inform the victim of the reason for employment rejection: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/credit/bus08.shtm[http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/credit/bus08.shtm].
  • The burden of clearing the victim's name within the criminal justice system is that of the victim. Quick action is key.
  • Officials within the system must correct any erroneous data.
  • There are no established procedures for clearing a wrongful criminal record and procedures vary from state to state.
  • Keep a detailed log of all conversations, dates, names, numbers and email addresses for the authorities you deal with.
  • Note the time spent and expenses incurred so that you may someday request restitution for damages from the courts.
  • Confirm conversations in writing, especially those that deal with clearing criminal records.
  • Send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  • Keep copies of all letters and documents sent by mail.
  • When an individual is booked or a warrant of arrest is issued, that person's name may be entered into a county database and the state's criminal records.
  • Once a victim's name is in the database, it's unlikely that it will be totally removed.
  • If the imposter is found, the victim should request a "key name" switch within the various databases. This means that records will reflect the imposter's true name as the primary name and the victim's name will appear as an alias (AKA). This helps law enforcement keep accurate records of the event.
  • Contact the arresting law enforcement agency (police or sheriff who originally made the arrest) or the court that issued the warrant for arrest. Explain that this is a case of misidentification and that you are the victim.
  • File an impersonation report. Allow the law enforcement agency to confirm you identity (fingerprints, photo, documents, etc).
  • Agency should retrieve the booking record of the event in dispute, which includes booking prints, booking photo, etc. Request that the agency compare the prints/photos to yours.
  • The law enforcement agency should recall any warrants and issue a "clearance letter" or certificate of release. Keep this in your procession at all times.
  • Request the law enforcement agency change all records from your name to the imposter's true identity, if known.
  • File an impersonation report with the law enforcement agency if the impersonator used your ID in a different state or country.
  • Go to the agency in your area and request an impersonation report. Mail the report, your fingerprints, your photo and any other identifying documents to the police department in the jurisdiction where the warrant, citation or conviction originated.
  • Establish direct communication with the detective or investigator and ask what other steps you need to go through.
  • Order a certified copy of your driver's license record to review any discrepancies.
  • Ask the DMV to "flag" your record for possible fraud: www.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/otherdmvs.htm [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/otherdmvs.htm]
  • If the imposter's name is not known, request a "key name" of "John Doe" so that your name is not primary on government records.
  • If no thumbprints were taken at the time of the arrest or citation, the agency can compare your handwriting/signature to that on the citation.
  • Vehicle records can also be checked to see that you are not the registered owner of the vehicle involved in the citation.
  • Legal counsel can be critical in getting the attention of law enforcement and court personnel. An attorney can cut down on the time and stress of the situation.
  • It is not recommended to change your SSN, which wipes out your financial, work and college history. You may want to request a new license number.
  • Contact any company that may have conducted a background check on your and ask which broker database compiled the report. Make sure you contact those companies to have erroneous data removed.
  • As precautions, order your credit history from the three credit bureaus each year and periodically obtain a copy of your driver's license record from your local DMV.
  • Order a copy of your personal earnings and benefits estimate statement from the social security administration. information about obtaining these documents can be found in PRC Fact Sheets 17 and 17a at http://www.privacyrights.org/identity-theft-data-breaches. These fact sheets discuss credit-related identity theft.
  • Most victims find out about the situation via citation notice from the court, collection agency calls, notice of warrant for arrest, suspended/revoked license at a routine traffic stop, outright arrest, denied employment.

The following information is from ProtectMyID.com (Source: http://www.protectmyid.com/identity-theft-protection-resources/types-of-fraud/criminal-use.aspx).

  • Most cases involve an imposter cited for a traffic violation or for a misdemeanor (offenses lower than felonies). The imposter signs the citation and promises to appear in court. if they do not show, the magistrate may issue a bench warrant under the victim's name (command to appear in court).
  • The victim usually does not know there is a warrant out for their arrest and may be unexpectedly detained at a routine traffic stop, arrested and taken to jail.
  • A criminal record is created when the imposter is "booked" or a warrant of arrest is issued, but here, the information is under the victim's name.
  • Working with law enforcement agencies:
    • Contact the arresting agency and explain this is a case of misidentification
    • Request that the arresting agency indicate what forms of ID were collected or captured at the time of arrest (fingerprints, mug shots).
    • Get as much detail as possible.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency
    • File a "false personation"/identity theft report
    • Ask them to take prints and verify your ID and forward it directly to the arresting agency:
    • If prints were not taken by the arresting agency, use signature verification from the arrest or citation form and any other physical details noted (scars, tattoos, height, weight, etc)
    • Request that the arresting agency compare prints and photos to establish your innocence. Then ask for them to recall any warrants and issue a "declaration of innocence" or certification of release. keep this with you at all times.
    • Request the arresting agency to file with the district attorney's office for a follow-up investigation, change all records from your name to the imposter's true ID or "John Doe," and forward a clearance update to the databases (city, county, state and federal)
  • Working with the court:
    • Determine the specific laws in your state that allow you to clear your name.
      request a declaration of innocence which will change the name on arrest records to that of the imposter.
    • Your name becomes the alias.
    • If the victim lives in a different state/country than the criminal event, work with local law enforcement to follow the necessary steps.
    • If the imposter's name is not known, request a "key name" or primary name is switched from your name to "John Doe" with your name as the alias.

Information from Krystle Frederick's case:

  • Her record shows speeding, suspended licenses and a DWI.
  • She was brought to court after being arrested for failure to appear on a DWI charge.
  • Krystle, however, claimed to not have been driving for at least a year prior, back when
    her license was revoked for different charges she also didn't commit.
  • Positive ID's on her have been made based on physical descriptions.
  • She's spent $3,500 on jail bonds and fees.
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