Three weeks ago Dannica Dillenbeck, a teenager from Albany, Texas found herself filing for identity theft in Mission, Texas after discovering that her identity had been stolen.
Dillenbeck, 17, who has been searching for a job for a year, tried to fill out a job application for the Walmart store in Albany and found out she was already employed by the company. According to Walmart records, her social security number already existed in their system.
“I’ve never been employed anywhere,” Dillenbeck said.
So she and her mother went to the Albany Social Security office, and then called the Mission police to report the fraud- a case number was issued.
In the meantime, Dillenbeck contacted FTC, the Federal Trade Commission which aids the public in trying to resolve identity theft problems, and the credit report agency to report the fraud.
An arrest was made, and the man behind this fraud was an illegal alien named Alfonso Martinez from Mission that had purchased Dannica’s number for $200.
According to Steven Toporoff of the FTC, this problem is becoming more frequent and identity theft has been growing, with an estimated 140,000 cases of child identity theft alone in the past few years. This is a problem that is becoming more common. Medical records of children and school systems are being targeted by organized groups because it’s available to them, and it runs in the thousands. Children are easy targets because it usually takes much longer for the theft to be discovered. Which in Dillenbeck’s case she woud have only found out after Walmart reported taxes to the IRS. Eventually leading to getting a letter from the IRS saying she owed taxes.
Unfortunately, Dillenbeck’s problem is not completely solved, because her number is still out there circulating the underground world of available social security numbers.
With more and more people, including children being a victim of identity theft, the Social Security administration recognizes this growing problem and is trying to minimize the threat by randomizing numbers to eliminate patterns, will get rid of its current use of the geographic significance attached to the first three digits and also change the way it issues the fourth and fifth digits.