Identity thieves are busy

Belleville News-DemocratAugust 22, 2011 

There is a man in Belleville who goes by the name of Michael, but he has also been known by three other first names.

He also goes by four different last names and has used eight different Social Security numbers and as many different dates of birth.

This individual is one of the 1.4 billion incidents of identity theft that a San Diego-based firm has been tracking for banks, telecommunications companies, retail credit companies and other clients.

Belleville native Steve Coggeshall is the chief technology officer for the business, ID Analytics. He said the company has been tracking these cases for the past six years, but it has only been within the past year that they have been able to determine who the perpetrators may be.

"The dynamic we are seeing here for the first time, more than what we had in the past, is that this is the first time anybody has examined the perpetrator for the crime as opposed to the victims," Coggeshall said.

Identity thieves do not care whom they steal from, he said. They make small changes to their own IDs by submitting a false birth date, changing a digit or two in their Social Security number at random. Although no one is a specific target, these people still cause potential harm to consumer credit. Anyone can be affected.

In another local incident, Coggeshall also found a case that involves a woman from Caseyville who goes by the name of Paula.

"She is a busy girl," Coggeshall said.

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