That being said, give an alleged identity thief in Alabama points for creativity.
A woman in Haleyville, Ala. — population 4,103 — is said to have posed as the CEO of a local bank and asked people to apply for jobs, according to a report in the Franklin County Times.
The woman, Alisa Diana Quim, 28, allegedly obtained copies of the bank’s legitimate job application and passed them out in the area, collecting the personal information of at least three people. According to an investigator, Quim claimed to have won the CEO position through a lawsuit, and with that story she offered people jobs.
One of the victims showed up at the bank to start work, and after hearing the person’s story, bank employees called the police. Quim was arrested and charged with one count of identity theft. Whether the stolen information was used is unclear.
In a recent column, Adam Levin, Credit.com’s co-founder and chairman, wrote about the dangers of giving away your Social Security number:
“For better or worse, you are the gatekeeper. The person most responsible for shielding your Social Security Number is you. Therefore, your mission is to limit, as best you can, the universe of those who gain access to it.”
He suggested that consumers might feel pressured to hand over their sensitive data. In any case, when you are asked for your SSN, he says to stop, take a moment and think about it — and do your research. If something sounds too good to be true, assume — until you can confirm otherwise — that it is.
Warnings about digital privacy and online security tend to dominate the identity theft conversation, especially because data breaches can compromise hundreds, even millions, of consumer accounts. But small-scale schemes aren’t dead. Whenever you are asked for personal information, whether for a credit card or a job application, it’s crucial to be sure the company behind it is legitimate.