Guarding your Social Security number (SSN)…sharing it only when absolutely necessary…could protect you from a tsunami of identity theft. But there are times when you just have to fork over that number; setting up new cell phone service is a prime example. It’s important to realize that even legitimate SSN disclosure to a well-known retailer can go horribly wrong.
In mid-September, officials in Chino Hills, CA received a call about a domestic violence situation. When they searched the vehicle belonging to Daniel Henry Mitchell, age 39, officers found a variety of SSNs, blank credit cards and other indicators pointing to an identity theft ring.
Over the next two months, evidence was uncovered indicating that several other suspects appeared to be working with Mitchell. Several employees at the Victoria Gardens Verizon store were investigated and on November 21, 2016, the store manager, Brandon Gaynor, was arrested on charges of identity theft. Gaynor, age 39 of Rancho Cucamonga, and other employees now face criminal charges and could lose their jobs, too.
The San Bernardino County sheriff’s office stated, “Verizon Corporate Security is actively working with law enforcement and taking the appropriate administrative actions for all associated employees.”
In this case, over 50 individuals from numerous states were identified. Some had already experienced identity theft, and others were listed as potential victims.
Without that domestic dispute to tip off county officials, there’s no way to tell how long the identity theft ring would have operated without detection. It often takes years to bust a successful theft ring.
The possibility for long-term misuse of your data is one reason why ID Watchdog monitors vital personal data on the dark web. We want to know immediately if it turns up in places it should not be. Remember to update any personal information on your dashboard so that ID Watchdog can always monitor your full data profile.