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, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.