Written by Alex Bach
Half a century ago identity theft would have sounded like some science fiction premise a la “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.” Today, identity theft is a household word, and so the pernicious act is so widespread and–often times intriguing–that it’s even become the premise of a blockbuster comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.
But identity theft outside of the theater is no laughing matter for those unfortunate victims. To show you just how serious the crime can be, we’ve listed the worst identity thefts in the world.
Don’t let yourself fall into the same pits as these following victims; Credit Report Problems has ways you can protect yourself from fraud.
Here are The Worst Identity Thefts in History:
Phillip Cummings: While working as a help desk employee at a credit card company, Cummings stole the credit information of thousands of customers, then selling that information to other thieves who would either take out credit cards in their names or access their bank accounts. The scam effected some 30,000 people with up to $100 million dollars worth of damage.
Amar Singh and Neha Punjani-Singh: This couple made headlines for pulling off quite possibly the largest identity theft ever committed, raking in $13 million from their July-September 2011 scam. Their scam, with 111 people assisting, sent “shoppers” out on unsuspecting stores with manufactured credit cards from information stolen from other stores. Some “shoppers” even used the cards to rent private jets and luxury cars.
Abraham Abdallah: This identity thief targeted the rich. Abdallah obtained the credit card information for some of America’s wealthiest citizens (Steven Spielberg and Warren Buffet were among them) by tricking a credit score company into giving out their information.
Brittany Ossenfort aka Michelle aka Richard Phillips: Almost a real-life reenactment of “Single White Female,” Michelle slowly assumed the identity of her roommate, Brittany, wearing the same clothes, doing her hair in the same color and style and even getting an identical tattoo. Then she stole her name; the real Brittany received a call from police saying she–Brittany Ossenfort had been arrested for prostitution. The police–and the real Brittany–quickly discovered that the Brittany in holding was not really the Brittany they thought–and that the Brittany they had was not even a woman but a transgender man named Richard Phillips. Unfortunately for the real Brittany, the arrest under her name is something that cannot be taken off the books.
Perhaps one of the most famous cases of identity theft in recent years is actually a fictional case of identity theft in one of the biggest TV shows in the last decade: “Mad Men.” The show’s fictional main character, Don Draper, had stolen that identity from a man he served with in Korea in order to escape the war. Draper then continued to live out the rest of his life as the fallen soldier. How’s that for a Long Con!
As these stories illustrate, identity theft is sneaky and malicious and prevalent. Make sure you protect yourself and your financial information.