In this case, Bankrate.com departed from its tradition
of hiring a financial planner to analyze an
individual's personal finances. This Financial
Literacy installment focuses on identity theft,
and though personal finances are almost always
affected, the steps that an ID theft victim
must take to clear his or her name require
a different type of makeover.
Because of the difficulty involved in finding an ID theft victim willing to talk publicly, Bankrate.com asked Kroll Fraud Solutions to find a willing victim and also conduct the Money Makeover. We ended up with a story about "Mike," whose name has been changed for privacy purposes. The facts of his case are true, however.
Mike, 52, worked as a civil
servant with a well-known federal agency.
After several years with the agency, Mike
received a letter from that agency alerting
him to the loss of an external computer hard
drive. Although Mike was no longer employed
by the government agency at the time he received
the letter, his personal and financial information
had remained on file with the agency long
after his departure.
The data breach exposed Mike's personally identifiable information -- including his Social Security number -- as well as his checking account information, which the agency had used for direct deposit payroll. Mike was not a bona fide victim of identity theft yet, but he knew he was at risk.