In February of 2016 a man by the name of Dwen Curry, out of Los Angeles, CA, was arrested by the California Department of Insurance and charged with grand theft after he changed the address of an annuitant and attempted to withdraw more than $35k out of the annuitant’s two annuities. In his possession, Curry had more than ten people’s identifications and investment portfolios. Lucky for the annuitant, his savvy insurance agent noticed that a change of address had been requested, and immediately knew something was wrong.
Sadly, annuities are the ID thief’s newest target. In July of 2017, the Nebraska Department of Insurance put out a consumer alert after receiving several verified reports that thieves were attempting to obtain annuity contracts using the annuitant’s ID. The thieves do not really need too much information either: name/social security number/date of birth/annuity contract number; some of this information can even be bought on the dark web.
ID thieves can purchase information from the dark web, but they can also obtain information elsewhere, just as easily via hacking, email phishing (yes, people still click links from unverified emails!), good old dumpster diving, social media happenings, and simply by changing you or your client’s address. One good rule of thumb to take away from this is keep anything you want private OFF the internet, especially social media because ID thieves are just waiting around the corner, or the computer for that matter.