AG's Office Explains How Men Were Able To Steal Identities
Four undocumented workers were arrested after stealing identities and participate in other illegal activities.
As we’ve reported four men were arrested in Summit County two weeks ago following an operation by the SECURE Strikeforce from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. The men were arrested for a total of 17 felonies and have since been detained by ICE officials. Investigations Chief with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Leo Lucey explains how the identities were stolen.
“The social security cards, they just made up random social security numbers. Those are just fake social security cards although the numbers that they use do belong to actual U.S. citizens. Those people have been notified." Lucey explains, "The suspects don’t know who they belong to, they simply make up a fake I.D. and use what appears to be a valid social security card. Most of the times they actually end up being numbers that belong to other people. On the identities—drivers’ licenses, work permits and whatever other identities—those were actually stolen from individuals then they falsified the information with their photo. Those victims have also been notified.”
Lucey says that since Utah has cracked down on fake I.D.’s many offenders will get their I.D.’s from another state, such as California.
“On the stolen identities most of those are stolen in burglaries, or they’ve got scanners. As you’ve heard I’m sure, they set-up fake scanners at random gas stations, or stores." Lucey said, "They’re pretty creative. Every time we figure a way to stop them from doing one thing they figure out another.”
Lucey says that they are able to track down those using stolen I.D.’s and Social Security Cards with tips from citizens or employers. He says that the four men arrested in Summit County were involved in other criminal activity which is what brought them to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office.
Lucey also says that the best thing you can do is regularly check your credit to make sure your social security number has not been stolen.
“So, you can run a credit check on yourself, see if there’s activity taking place that you’re unaware of. That’s probably the best way. Usually if they’re using a social security card they’re going to be using it for employment or loans or bank-type transactions and you can check that activity yourself." Lucey continued, "There are products out there now through the private sector to protect your identity that will put notifiers on that will say your identities being used. That comes with a cost obviously, but on the social security end that’s about all you can do. To be honest with you its random. They don’t know if it’s a real number or not (…) but most often it is because they want it to look real. They’ll pick numbers that they’ve seen themselves, whatever the number is. They do it in a way and they manufacture the cards in a way that they look real and if they’re run often they’re attached to an actual U.S. citizen.”