SAN DIEGO, Calif. (7/8/11)--Roughly 45 million people in the U.S. have deliberately maneuvered their identities in applications for a variety of financial and other transactions, according to a study by ID Analytics Inc. They maneuvered their identities in applications for credit, for cell phone service, for auto loans and other transactions, said the San Diego-based consumer risk management company. ID Analytics Inc. is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Its ID:A Labs conducted the study with data from its network, which contains more than 1.4 billion unique identity events for 300 million people. The study looks beyond typos and name changes to examine deliberate and improper variations of Social Security numbers, names, and dates of birth. Its findings:
* Eight million people use two or more Social Security numbers; * Sixteen million people use multiple dates of birth; and * Ten million people manipulated their identities by co-mingling some of their spouse's information (Social Security number or birth date) into their own identity.
The company provided examples from three of the most prolific offenders:
* Offender No. 1, who resides in Philadelphia, Pa., has 165 variations of Social Security numbers, 44 different dates of birth, and three different first names; * Offender No. 2, who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. has 146 Social Security numbers, eight dates of birth, and eight different first names; and * Offender No. 3, who resides in Cleveland, Ohio, has 106 Social Security numbers, 12 dates of birth, and six different first names.
"This is the first national study of people who are explicitly manipulating identity information," said Stephen Coggeshall, Ph.D. and chief technology officer at ID Analytics. "While there is extensive research on the crime of identity fraud and its victims, there is far less on the actual perpetrators of the crime. Now, for the first time, there is a comprehensive view of who identity manipulators are, where they are living and specifically how they are manipulating their personal information," he added. "Deliberate identity manipulation is far more prevalent than we imagined," Coggeshall said. "We aren't including people using nicknames or making a typo on a Social Security number or date of birth, but rather repeated and intentional alteration of key identity elements, in some cases by spouses and parents." He added the study uncovered fraudsters, people manipulating their identity to hide in plain sight, as well as those seeking to avoid poor credit ratings. The worst cities for identity manipulation are metro areas in Michigan--including Detroit, Flint and Lansing--and Texas, which includes Dallas, Houston, and border and coastal towns such as Corpus Christi, El Paso and McAllen.