If you want to commit Identity Theft, move to Ohio.

The latest in my ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ series – taken from The Great Courses’ Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works (Lecture 33: Crimes – Nobody’s Supposed to Get Hurt) 

  • Identity theft of deceased persons is much bigger business than living.
  • US authorities run a program called Operation Death Match which is the not so very subtly named title for a program that matches current US passports with registers of people who’ve died in the US. This has identified more than 200 people living under assumed identities and led to 150 arrests.
  • Birth certificate is a ‘breeder document’ since it is the gateway to all other forms of ID
  • (Astonishingly), some US states have an open records law in which anyone can get a copy of anyone else’s documentation as long as they have their name and birthdate. If you’re interested in protecting your identity, first find out what you need to do in order to get a copy of your birth certificate and then make sure you protect those items (and your actual birth certificate) closely.
  • Children’s identities are often targeted because of the lack of criminal record and history and because thieves can get more usable years out of the identity than an adults (though there has to be some correlation re ages to minimise suspicion).