Police estimate that hundreds of thousands of dead people have their Social Security numbers and other aspects of their identities stolen every year, mostly for purposes of fraud. But a few identity thieves take their crime to the ultimate level: killing people just to steal their lives. Murdering someone and stealing their ID is rare, but when it happens, it is often the result of a long and involved con.
Killers who became their victims include a woman who murdered her sister after pretending her house was firebombed by drug dealers; a career fraudster who sent his victim off to another country, then killed him when he came back; a convicted rapist who killed a homeless man in order to fake his own death; and a serial killer known as the most-wanted woman in America.
Here are some of the stories of people who killed others to assume their identities.