Written by Alex Bach
In light of the recent breaches in Target and Neiman Marcus, identity theft paranoia is (or should be) at an all time high. Which is good; people are finally starting to get concerned about the very real and very pernicious threat that is identity theft. To further your fear, and you get you start protecting yourself, we’ve selected some of the wildest cases of identity theft around.
Not sure how to protect yourself? Credit Report Problems can help. Check out some of these great tips for protecting yourself from identity theft.
Wildest Cases of Identity Theft:
The Long Con:
A 17-year battle of identity fraud was concluded in 2011 with the arrest of a California man. A 67 year old Florida man with no criminal record (prior to the events) had been suffering the consequences of Joseph Kidd, a California man, posing as him for 17 years. Kidd, under Smith’s name, has been incarcerated in both jail and prison, received benefits such as medicaid and welfare, and even gotten married under the stolen identity.
How did if effect the real Smith? Well, the real Smith had liens placed against his taxes, was denied medical benefits, had his license suspended and was even jailed for 8 days, all the effects of the things Kidd did under the stolen name.
A Streetcar Named Identity Theft:
In 2006, a 64 year old woman and former Wells Fargo Vice President, riding on a streetcar in San Francisco had her wallet plucked from her purse. She was then arrested several years later with a no-bail warrant, accused of stealing some $60,000 from Wells Fargo through stolen checks. She had to spend almost $50,000 just to finally pull herself out of the ordeal.
Stranger: Handwriting analysis was used in the case, however, the thieves had mirrored her’s so well that she was still considered a suspect in the case.
Having your identity stolen is bad enough–but what if you actually got sued over failing to protect your identity? Well, two men in Oregon are being sued in Las Vegas for just that after a man using a fake ID made from the license number of one man and the name of the other killed a young woman with a rented car. The suit claims they should have taken better action to protect themselves from crimes they didn’t even know were being committed.
If there’s a moral to all of these it’s that anyone can become targeted for identity theft, and once the theft is committed, the problems have only just begun. It’s more important than ever to be aware of your vulnerability and to then take steps to protect yourself whenever possible.