Hands writing on a paperUntil Maria was denied a marriage license, she had no idea that someone had stolen her identity. For sure she never imagined a need for a private investigator like .

According to Maria, detectives from the local police department moved too slowly when she reported the alleged crime. Identity theft is often put at the bottom of the case load due to so many other more violent crimes. The authorities didn’t devote much time to investigating her case. And because of that, Maria worried that she and her fiance would be forced to cancel their wedding and lose the large deposit already paid to the reception hall.

Trying to assist a client with identity theft is very similar in many ways to a missing person investigation. The first step is to gather all the information the victim can provide. One of the key pieces of information Maria provided was that her birth certificate had been stolen 20 years earlier. Though she could not prove it, Maria always suspected her roommate’s rather shady boyfriend as the culprit. At the time, the incident seemed more like an irritation than anything else. But Maria was young and also, identity theft was not yet the number one white collar crime in America that it is today.

Maria was oblivious to anything related to identity theft until she applied for the marriage license. Imagine her shock when she received news that, according to paperwork, she was already married and had been for nearly a decade. Again, knowing how to find a missing person provides investigators with the tools and skills for finding people who have stolen identities.

Utilizing extensive knowledge and access to high-level databases, investigators also learned of two properties in Texas with Maria’s name listed as a co-owner. Knowing that only 1% of identity theft cases actually end with the prosecution of the guilty party, conducted thorough searches to locate any other ways in which Maria had been victimized.

With social media engineering, other women with Maria’s name were found in Texas. One lived at the address of one of the properties listing Maria as co-owner. Authorities in Texas were notified and the person identified was brought in and questioned.

Handwriting analysis, completed by a professional forensic examiner provided evidence to prove to the courts that forged signatures were used on the marriage license as well as both properties. Document forgery was evident in all three examples.

It was through private investigators that Maria was able to legally clear her name of both the prior marriage and the property ownership. And this meant Maria got to say “I do,” as she planned.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations