Identity theft is becoming a real problem for Americans. Because many consumers do not check their credit reports regularly and are only made aware of their credit when applying for a loan, criminals have been running rampant in the United States for some time.
In New Jersey, in particular, there have been many stories involving criminal use of personal information in the media lately. According to the McClatchy Tribune, a longtime private security guard at the Newark Liberty International Airport was recently arrested for using the identity of a man who died 20 years ago. The source said Jerry Thomas, born Bimbo Oyewole, was arrested for identity theft. Part of the reason Oyewole was able to live as Thomas for so long was because neither man had a criminal record, so fingerprint records did not exist. Officials stressed the importance of employer-sanctioned background checks. The McClatchy Tribune reported Oyewole was able to attain a social security card and license using Thomas's information. Elsewhere in the state, a 17-year-old was recently arrested for stealing her grandparents' credit cards and using their data to make fraudulent purchases, New Jersey Newsroom detailed. The Hopatcong woman spent over $500 of the couple's money. The couple reported their cards stolen without realizing their granddaughter was the criminal, New Jersey Newsroom said. The police discovered it was the 17-year-old after viewing surveillance cameras. It is not uncommon for family members or other caregivers to be the culprits in the case of an identity theft. A Belleville man, Dayron Rendon, was arrested in late February for credit card fraud, a separate New Jersey Newsroom article reported. He was allegedly involved in an identity theft ring, and stole credit card information with a skimming device. Rendon pled guilty to identity theft and will be sentenced in June, the source detailed. Identity theft is also a problem for lenders. Companies that unknowingly offer alternative finance
options to an identity thief criminal often end up losing money. While the credit scores of an individual can be affected for years, companies who are cheated out of money may be forced out of business. Lenders should consider taking extra measures to verify the identity of those who are attempting to borrow.