Identify theft & Mortgage Fraud
How would you feel if the Sherriff appeared at your doorstep one
day and evicted you from your own home, tossing all of your
possessions on the curb?
It's happened, and in some areas, the victims many
never get their homes back:
"In the latest twist in the fast-growing problem of identity
theft, homeowners are astonished to find that thieves not only
have stolen their personal information, but have used it to open
home-equity loans or, in some extreme cases, sold the home
without the homeowner's knowledge"
With no "positive" methods of identification, crooks are having a
field day stealing from homeowners across North America.
Can you be positively identified?
The closest remedy for positive ID verification is
this database that has photo images from all USA drivers
licenses. You can enter your name and verify your drivers
license photo using this system. As you see, it has a few
bugs, but it's a really great concept for positive identify
Identity theft and mortgage fraud are easy today
In a new spin on identity theft, criminals are now obtaining
mortgages on other peoples houses, taking the money, and having the
innocent victims evicted. They tend to prey on homeowners and
But it's not just a problem in foreign countries.
This Texas couple came home from vacation to find the locks on
his house changed, and new owners in his house:
lost his house because a mortgage company accepted
a fake Power of Attorney document. Sadly, under Canada
law, he may never get his home back:
"Paul Reviczky, who was recently shocked to learn that
the thieves, using a fraudulent power of attorney, had sold
the home he had owned since 1980 to an unsuspecting
purchaser, and that under Ontario law he may never get it
"When the two returned to
Frisco, Texas, several days later, their keys didn't work. The
locks on the house had been changed.
They spent their first night back sleeping in a walk-in closet,
with a steel pipe ready to cold-cock any intruders. The next day,
they met the man who thought he owned their house, because he had
$12,000 down payment to someone named Carlos Ramirez. The Cooks
went to the Denton County Courthouse and checked their title."
The article also notes that it is the mortgage lender who must
lose-out in the mortgage fraud:
“Because the money is actually stolen from the lender,
identity-theft victims aren't liable to repay the lost funds and
don't lose their homes. It's the lenders who are out of luck.”
This article notes another case where identity thieves had
stolen a home via mortgage fraud:
"But when the couple tried to sell the property, they
discovered some shocking and disturbing news: their home had
already been sold.
An unknown man forged their signatures to sale documents, and
without their knowledge or permission, registered himself as the
rightful owner of the property. He then took out two mortgages
on the property, receiving $62,000 in loans, before disappearing
without a trace."
The increasing scope of identity theft and
This article notes that stealing peoples homes without their
knowledge has become a multi-million dollar business, and the
identify theft can occur from job applications in the wrong hands:
"A grand jury has indicted six people in an alleged scheme to
obtain more than $5.7 million in mortgages and
multimillion-dollar lines of credit by falsifying documents and
obtaining personal information from people who thought they were
applying for jobs.
According to indictments handed up Tuesday and made public
Wednesday, members of the group provided false information on
loan applications, faked employment verifications and doctored
financial documents. "
The solution to identify theft is simple
The moral of the story is clear. It's very easy to forge
legal documents today, and more positive identifications methods are
required. In my work as a consultant, I've created drivers
licenses for legitimate governments, and after seeing the technology
first-hand, I see how easy it is to duplicate any official document.
The core problem with identify theft is our antiquated 20th
century technology, and updating ID with
biometrics (like fingerprints, retinal images or DNA, that can
be easily stored in Oracle databases) can easily solve the problem.
Unfortunately, criminals are resisting positive identification
under the guise of "right to privacy", when the real reason is that
their fingerprints and DNA might be used to catch them in a "cold
case" sting. In reality, nobody but the bad guys have anything
to fear from fingerprinting and DNA identification.
What are we doing to fight identity theft?
Until Americans learn that revealing their DNA of retinal images
is not a privacy violation, identity theft will continue to be a
problem. Fortunately, there is some relief in sight:
- Some more enlightened countries are now issuing
- Credit card companies will soon issue
biometric credit cards, where you must place your thumb on
the back of the card to activate it.
Oracle is working with the Indian government to create a
National ID card with positive Identification.