A recent report, Identity Thief: Trends and Issues, by the Congressional Research Service, examines the fastest growing type of fraud in the US ? identity fraud; in 2008 about 9.9 million Americans were reportedly victims of identity theft, an increase of 22% from the number of cases in 2007. Since the FTC began recording consumer complaint data in 2000, identity theft has remained the most common consumer fraud complaint.

Identity theft can facilitate employment fraud if the thief uses the victim’s personally identifiable information to obtain a job. With the current downturn in the economy and with unemployment on the rise, the Identity Theft Resource Center predicts that for 2009, there may be an increase in the fraudulent use of SSNs-by people who either do not have a SSN or for some reason cannot use their own.

Not only can identity theft lead to employment fraud, but employment fraud may be a means to steal someone’s identity. Identity thieves may use scams that falsely advertise employment as a means to phish for personally identifiable information. The thief can then use this information to commit other crimes while the job-seeking individual remains unemployed and victimized.

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