As we continue this series, there is a new consideration that digitized illegal transactions create. Each of outside of law enforcement must now concern ourselves with the perils of identity theft in an all together new fashion.
Stealth Identity Theft
In a world where drug dealers or other crooks can move funds around electronically, they have a new interest in doing so in a manner that doesn’t attract attention to themselves. There is already to many scenarios every day where people experience identity theft. The typical scenario is one where someone gets access to your credit card information, and runs up a tab on your account.
Over the last few years a new version started to occur where are personal information was used by criminals that would go out and setup a bank account only to then apply for credit and run up a tab under the fictitious account, which is under our name and social security number. In both situations they are stealing funds from creditors using our good name and credit history, which immediately becomes tarnished.
In a world where drug users have become the money launderers, drug dealers might attempt to learn from credit thieves and set up fictitious accounts under an alias. They could then have payments routed to this bank account for this name, and forward payments back out again through ACH transactions.
Their end goal is not to burn our good credit, but to run accounts under the radar such that we don’t know. The longer they can keep a dummy account up and running the easier their lives are.
Disposable Id’s? (To Keep or not to Keep)
There may be some natural time limits on the usefulness of such an account. As an example, as they run cash through these accounts, they may earn interest, which will be reported to the IRS under our names. So a natural limiter might include the amount of time the IRS takes to catch a discrepancy between what we report on our taxes(correctly but ignorantly not knowing that a criminal is operating under a stolen identity belonging to us).
Criminals masterminds may however seize upon checking accounts that pay no interest. So we must arm ourselves with the ability not only to monitor our credit, but with the ability to monitor open bank accounts or asset accounts. Watching our liability accounts through equifax is not enough.
Other criminal masterminds may not concern themselves with the time limit imposed by an IRS audit. They may look to torch the account on the way out. Compiling their ill gotten gains not in an interest free checking account, but instead opening up a brokerage account with the funds. They could trade stocks or options, possibly even on margin, and attempt to increase their booty.
Organized criminals could use multiple accounts to direct trades for or against accounts to push a stock price up or down. Hostile foreign governments could do the same thing. Imagine the double, triple whammy of 10 or 30,000 middle class Americans who have sacrificed their identity unknowingly to organized crime, which has funneled money from drug sales into multiple bank accounts around the country. The same funnel is then directed to margin trading accounts where its leveraged to drive up or down a stock price, while the same organized entity buys or cells the stock knowing the impact that is soon to occur.
Rumors of Al Qaida trading on the September 11th attack were rampant in the aftermath. So as we await to proceed into Part 4, I ask do you know how many bank accounts exist in your name? Can you prove that its no more and no less? If yes, how so?
A useful source I’ve found that continues this subject can be found in the Report titled “Cyberpayments and Money Laundering: Problems and Promise“