Stealing an Identity to Get a Job

Having poor credit and a criminal record hurt an individual’s chances of employment, although finding a job is still possible. Identity theft, a growing crime, is often detectable through financial transactions and a credit report, but as we saw a few weeks ago, not all cases of identity theft involve taking out a credit card or getting a bank account. Rather, some steal an identity for health insurance or, in recent news, for employment.

In this story from the Democrat and Chronicle, Carollena M. Vaccaro stole the identity of a cousin to pass a background check for a nanny position. Vaccaro, at the time, had 35 arrests on her record and had spent time in prison. As such criminal history bars her from many jobs, especially child care, Vaccaro took the name and social security number of her cousin and passed a background check. After three months on the job, however, Vaccaro was charged with stealing from the family for which she worked and now has a three to six-year prison sentence.

What can motivate a person to steal someone’s identity for employment? Given the current state of the economy and the general difficulty of gainful employment with a criminal record, assuming the identity of someone else allows obtaining a job to be easier – especially in a caretaking field. Criminal history and poor credit significantly limit a person’s options for a job, and as a result, stealing someone’s identity for this purpose appears like a solution.

Even with poor financial and criminal history, however, employment is not impossible, as long as you look in a field that does not involve caretaking or is not relevant to your criminal charges. On the other hand, stealing someone’s identity is not difficult. Simply having a person’s basic information, such as a social security number, name, and address, is often enough to open a bank or credit account, use health insurance, or pass a background check.

For a person whose identity has been stolen, such information often shows up in a background or credit check. In order to prevent someone from stealing your identity, be careful with using your social security number, name, address, or birth date in person and online.