Ohio Woman Indicted For Using Starbucks Job Applications To Commit ID Theft Worth $115K

The last thing anyone needs when they’re out of work is to worry about the safety of the personal information they put on a job application. But the U.S. Attorney in Ohio has indicted a woman on allegations that she used this sensitive info to falsely obtain credit cards and run up a $115,000 tab.

The woman wasn’t an employee of Starbucks, but of a company responsible for food and beverage concessions at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

“She would take that personal information that you would give on the application and then use it to go get credit cards,” Mike Tobin of the Dept. of Justice tells TV station WKYC.

According to reports, the suspect is charged with illegally obtaining 65 credit cards to feed her shopping spree.

She’s been indicted on charges of ID theft and aggravated fraud.

But for some reason, the DOJ does not consider the woman a flight risk and tells WKYC they expect her to turn herself in to authorities today.

Northeast Ohio: Starbucks job applications used in identity theft [WKYC.com]

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  1. digital0verdose says:

    People that pull this type of crap should be susceptible to similar types of social punishments of pederasts. They have to register as a id theft offender and have their every movement tracked via a dozen different websites.

    • Puddy Tat says:

      And wear a sign around their neck stating they are an ID theft Fellon or be electro shocked 10-Volts until they put on their sign.

  2. smo0 says:

    Amazing. A failing economy brings out the worst in people…. imagine what the 30s would have been like if they had this kind of technology….

  3. Stickdude says:

    Tell me again why you need to put SSN’s on a job application as opposed to after being hired?

    • dolemite says:

      So they can look at your credit report and deny you a job if it’s less than stellar. For some reason. I’d honestly like to see it banned.

      • smo0 says:

        I’ve been at two jobs in the last 6 years….. these jobs and my prior ones, I’ve put my SSN on…

        2 years ago, I decided if I ever needed to apply for a new or another job, I’d refrain from putting my SSN on there, now I have something to cite as to why…..

        • Lucky225 says:

          I always write ‘applied for’, companies that require you to fill out an ‘internet application’ I simply never apply to. There is no reason for ANY employer to have that much information on an applicant that they may not even give ANY consideration to in the first place. If after the interview you like me, hand me a w4 to show your serious and then you get my SSN.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I believe it’s also used for criminal background checks.

      • ellemdee says:

        Some jobs do this if you’ll have access to sensitive or classified information, on the grounds that you’ll be more likely to accept bribes in exchange for divulging information if you have financial problems.

    • tresser says:

      i would think it had to do with past infractions with the law

      • RandomHookup says:

        Actually SSN has nothing to do with the criminal background check. No city arrests you and records your SSN. Full name and DOB are needed for criminal checks.

    • brinks says:

      You don’t.

      If, after an interview, the company likes you and wants to do a background check, they can have you fill out the paperwork then. Your social security number has no business on a piece of paper that’s out in the open, in a pile, or in a desk drawer.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You shouldn’t need to but a lot of employers will ask for it on the basic application.

    • tbax929 says:

      Evil HR Lady and Ask A Manager have both written about this and advise readers NOT to put SSNs on applications. If a company makes an offer contingent on a credit/background check, then you provide them with the SSN.

    • Griking says:

      It depends on the company. You probably shouldn’t at McDonalds but many other companies insist on doing background checks on applicants before they hire them.

    • Max5695 says:

      I used to work a background screening company that performed background checks. Companies that were hiring people sent job applications to us. They also would submit the information to us online and by fax. Most companies will not pay for a background check until after they interview you.

      When you submit job applications on paper, I would recommend that you leave your SSN and date of birth blank. Some companies cannot ask for date of birth due to age discrimination policies or laws. If a company needs to run a background check after they interview you, they can always ask you for your SSN or date of birth at a later time. Paper applications are not secure. You have no idea who might have access to paper records.

      Protect your identity and give out as little information as possible. If you are trying to get a job, only give out sensitive information if it is absolutely necessary.

      If it is an online secure application, then you might be required to provide that information. Chances are that online applications are more secure.

    • GameHen says:

      SSN is required by the company in order to pay you after you’ve been hired. (Tax reasons). Also, they need it to conduct the Social Security Trace portion of your background check (verify that you are who you say you are) which is required by law. It is not used for the criminal check as others are suggesting.

      However, companies generally do not ask for this until after they’re ready to make the hire to avoid legal complications. It may be that they have it on the initial application form because of the extremely high volume of hires they make. It makes it easier for them to have the info up front. This doesn’t mean that you have to provide it though.

      • GameHen says:

        Actually, the SS Trace is used for the criminal check indirectly. If you have multiple names that come back on your SSN, then the criminal check is often run against each name that was returned.

        Sidebar:
        I had a background check I ran once on a lady we were hiring once that came back with 7 aliases. 7!!! Turns out she had a warrent out for her arrest in 2 different states for welfare fraud (she was collecting welfare while making a 6-figure salary).

  4. j_benj says:

    I’ve had my identity stolen in that same way and I can speak from experience, for the victim, it SUCKS. It took me almost 6 months of DILIGENT paper-filing, working with detectives and following up with every rinky-dink credit card company in the known universe to close out the 14 cards some lowlife took out in my name. My credit rating finally started to come back up but I lost some of my long-time legitimate credit accounts when my score dipped down into the 400’s. This woman should be locked away for a long long time.

  5. jimmyhl says:

    But for some reason, the DOJ does not consider the woman a flight risk and tells WKYC they expect her to turn herself in to authorities today.

    As a former DOJ attorney I can tell you this is not so unusual in so-called white collar cases. The gov commonly use summonses in lieu of arrest in cases of non-violent, non-drug crimes and…believe it or not, most people show up when they’re supposed to. Chances are, the woman has already been interviewed about the case by Secret Service agents or Postal Inspectors and hasn’t run away yet so the thinking goes that she’ll stay put now that charges have been lodged.

    BTW: if she’s guilty she should burn. I’ve heard dozens of ‘victim impact’ statements in cases like this one and these people go through hell getting their business straightened out.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Why is it so frigging hard for them to do that? There are police reports, etc; why do the companies make it so hard? I’m scared of it myself not because of the thief damaging my credit (which isn’t that great to begin with), but because of the crap I’d have to go through to clean it up.

      Also, if they catch the thief, that should be part of the punishment. To help the victims clean up the mess.

      • jimmyhl says:

        I can come up with two reasons why cleaning up the mess can be so hard.

        The first is delay. As a victim of ID fraud, you would probably be alerted to the problem as soon as you opened your monthly statement or checked your accounts on-line, but the investigation and arrest might not happen for a year after you first cried foul and the conviction might take another year. During that entire time, the credit card company might not even have the agency reports because they are sometimes not disclosable. So, the bank relies on its own investigation for a lot longer than you might suppose, which often leads to keeping the file ‘in suspense’ until the court case plays out.

        Which leads to answer #2: a lot of (bad) credit information can circulate to prospective third-party credit sources in two years’ time. So, as a victim, you can end up with inquiries and complications generated by the case down the line when you try to open credit accounts with new credit issuers you weren’t even doing business with when you reported the fraud.

        • Jasen says:

          The creditors, and especially the credit bureaus, do not have to wait for any investigations to complete to remove derogatory tradelines from your credit report, nor to call off any collections hounds that are sniffing around your feet. Once they’ve been properly notified that the account in question is fraudulent (properly meaning you have mailed them copies of the police report and affidavit) they are required to remove them from your credit and cease collections actions.

          What most people seem to do is just call them up and try to explain what’s going on to the bored Indian CSR, who’s probably heard other people say the same thing. Without sending them the requisite proof, they don’t seem to care nearly as much about fixing things or believing you.

  6. ellemdee says:

    I knew some Cingular reps (yeah, it was a while ago) who would get people to submit apps for a new line of service “just to see what they’d get approved for”. They would then open new lines of service in the names of the people who just filled out an app, but have the bills sent to a different address so the victim wouldn’t realize what was going on at first. It took a few months of non-paid bills for the lines to finally get shut off, then they’d just do it again with another app. Just one of many reasons I prefer to deal directly with my cell company over the phone than with some random kid in a store, especially the non-corporate stores. Yeah, stuff like this could still happen, but it’s much less likely.

  7. Jasen says:

    For those of you who are victims of a crime such as this, it takes a little work to straighten out, but is not as terrible as some have made it out to be. The basic steps to follow would be something like this:
    Get an updated copy of your credit report from all three bureaus.
    Mark all accounts that are fraudulent (for your reference).
    Call or visit your local PD to have a report made.
    Visit ftc.gov and download their Identity Theft Affidavit.
    Mail a copy of the police report and affidavit (certified, return receipt) to all three bureau’s, being sure to specifically mention the appropriate accounts and the fact that they are fraudulent.
    Repeat this mailing to every single bank or creditor that owns one of the fraudulent accounts.
    Both the bureaus and creditors are required by law to remove these accounts from your credit report and immediately stop all collection attempts. Failure to do so gives you cause for a winning lawsuit.
    I’ve never seen a creditor ignore a police report and FTC affidavit.

  8. guymandude says:

    So when are you stoopid mutherf*kers going to realize that you shouldn’t put your SSN on a job application? You give them that AFTER you have an offer.

  9. brinks says:

    If you apply at a company that uses paper applications and part of the process is handing over your app to a stranger, do NOT put your SS# on it. As a former hiring manager, I can tell you that applications are rarely secured until an employee is actually hired. They sit in a pile where virtually anyone who is in and out of the office has access to them. They may or may not be secured eventually, but they won’t be until, at the very least, the hiring manager has sorted through the pile. .You might also be surprised to see the places misplaced applications turn up (for instance, sitting at the checkout counter, where a ton of people can see them).

    Your SS# is NOT needed until they do a background or credit check. NO employer is going to do that before they interview you, so you can give it to them then. If they don’t do a background/credit check, they don’t need it until they fill out your I-9 on your date of hire.

    In Ohio (and I HOPE everywhere else), you can’t have your SS# on your license anymore. It really shouldn’t be allowed on applications, either.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      The problem comes with electronic applications, which are the ONLY ones a lot of places take now. You can’t put 00-000-0000 or it kicks you back. You have to “swear” that the information is correct, so if you put a fake one, you just lied on your application. It’s very hard now to apply for jobs online and employers don’t really care, as they get what they need based on the requirements they set up.

      And yeah, you can not apply to those companies, but when you’ve been out of work a really long time, your principles start to seem trite.

      • brinks says:

        You’re right – you can’t omit the info in that case. I can’t speak for all businesses, but where I’ve worked, electronic applications required a restricted login to access them, so they were pretty secure. The paper apps are the ones I really worry about. The lack of discretion people have with those is amazing.

        • ScarletsWalk says:

          I know. I used to handle the paper applications that came in for a few jobs and they really would just sit out there for all to see, even customers.

          While the private information submitted electronically MIGHT be more secure, considering so many of these companies can’t keep our credit cards from being breached, I don’t have a lot of faith. I’m willing to take that chance if they’re paying me or are seriously considering paying me, but not just cold-calling, so-to-speak. :)

  10. Palmer45 says:

    This is kind of similar to an episode of Psych where a bunch of criminals used people’s job applications to apply for credit cards and such. Except in the episode it was a bunch of rogue roller derby girls.

  11. kaseyk85 says:

    I have to see your SSN on the app before i even look at work history or any of your false references. The first thing we do before we hire ANYONE, even someone workin for 24 hours a week…we do a credit check. it doesnt have to be perfect, just dont want to see that you have a past history of poor credit decision that may make you more likly to steal the money that your handling everyday. come on people, if your going to work in retail and handle money all day, who are they going to hire. the guy with a few bumps on his score, or the guy who has a 415.

    • GameHen says:

      You’re trolling, right? You honestly spend money for a credit check on every applicant for a retail job? With that kind of turnover?

      Also, if you throw our your apps without SSN, then your leftover applicant pool is going to be the filled with the stupid (not that everyone will be, just a lot of them will be). You’re actually throwing out the smarter and probably better potential employees who can actually think and would have a higher liklihood of providing a better customer experience.

      • kaseyk85 says:

        I have to check the credit. It’s my company’s policy. It’s not a retail position, it’s strictly cash handling. And if you’re behind the counter and can’t handle having your own credit card, you probably can’t handle being responsible for thousands of dollars. So yes, I have to run a credit check, which requires a social security number on your application. I’m not trolling, at all. I’m a business manager and that is just the way it works. If I were to receive applications without a social security number, I would definitely have to bypass them. I would consider that incomplete. There is a statement at the bottom explaining that a credit check will be placed and that is why your social security number is required.

  12. Extended-Warranty says:

    To those who say don’t put your SS, good luck getting the job. You don’t start making your own rules before you get the job.

    Most companies have online applications that make the hiring process more efficient and easier for them. Making it harder will get your application ignored real fast.

  13. BikeLizard says:

    When filling out applications, I always write “Given on Hire” in the SS# box. I then explain to the manager that I’ve forgotten my number, and don’t carry my card because it the card tells me not to.

    The manager then sees that I’m a sheep who blindly follows rules, remembers my face, polite tone, and decent grammar. Then I get the job.

    A little manipulative, yes, but I don’t give out my number and don’t make it seem like I think the workplace is full of thieves.

  14. bumblefoot2004 says:

    Guess how she’s going to pay her bail ;-)