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Identity thieves strike out at celebrities

Sep 18, 2012 Dave King

The primary goal of an identity thief is to steal as much money as he or she can before the victim takes notice and closes lines of credit and gets authorities involved. While these criminals don't often discriminate and will steal from people of all ages, races and statuses, chances are good that they will get more money out of an individual who earns more. As such, some ID thieves go after the money of celebrities. Despite their elite status, stars often face crippling fraudulent charges in their names after identities have been stolen, as well as new, unauthorized lines of credit and a wounded credit score. Famous producer owed thousands
It was recently revealed that Sean Garrett, a music producer who has worked with stars including Nicki Minaj, Usher and Beyonce, owes more than $108,000 to American Express, reported HiphopDX. As such, the credit card provider is suing Garrett. However, the story goes deeper. According to the source, though the producer has faced other financial problems in the past, it is being claimed that this is not the executive's fault. "The lawsuit has no merit," claimed Garrett's representative, according to HiphopDX. "The charges in question are result of identity theft and fraudulent transactions that have been in dispute by Sean's accounting team with AmEx for quite some time."  A McAfee blog revealed that many stars, including Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler, Cher, Melanie Griffith and Anne Hathaway have had to contend with fraudulent charges made in their name because of a criminal, namely, their shared beautician. Keeping money safe
There are definitely steps that consumers can take to keep their hard-earned money safe from thieves. Tactics include using unique passwords to protect accounts with online payment gateways, running regular credit checks from consumer credit bureaus and exercising caution when buying either online or through strange in-store devices. However, many short term lenders also believe they can play a great part in making sure identity thieves don't' succeed. Lenders can use various ID verification tools to establish the borrower's identity. For example, when checking a potential borrower's identification, they could use Microbilt's tool, ID Verify, which allows business to ensure the validity of information provided, checking data against social security records, death lists and documents from the Office of Foreign Asset Control,  flagging suspicious individuals.