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"Do you know who I am?"

This evening, I heard yet another horror story about identity theft. Yet another tale of a poor schmuck whose life is ruined because some scumbag got ahold of his personal information and is screwing him over all over the country.

As you might have guessed, this is a hot-button issue for me. And as is my wont, I have a simple, modest proposal to deter identity theft.

Let's suppose someone manages to get their hands on my personal information and decides to impersonate me. (Lord knows why -- although I have a spotless criminal record, I wouldn't wish my credit rating on Markos "Screw 'Em" Zuniga.) And let's suppose I manage to track them down and confront them. And during the confrontation, I kill them.

Under my fantasy, the courts would look at this and say "Hmm. It appears that Mr. Jay Tea killed Mr. Jay Tea. There is no law against suicide, of course -- there's no sense in trying a dead person. So by that interpretation, there was no crime here."

Now, I might have to stand trial for assisting in a suicide, or improper disposal of a corpse, or littering, but I think under those circumstances I'd take my punishment. It'd be worth it.

J.

(Personal anecdotes below the fold)

1) Several years ago, this dirtbag was bouncing checks all over Manchester and using my phone number. After the fourteenth or so call looking for him and disbelieving that I wasn't him or knew where he was, I tracked down his address and phone number. I promptly called back all his creditors and gave them that information, then called him and left him a message outlining exactly what I had done -- including the names of the businesses I had called. It was quite a gratifying experience. Moral of the story: be careful who you rope into your problems. They might just turn around and bite you on the ass.

2) I like to collect "dumb criminal" stories. One of my favorites was about a guy who decided to leave Florida when things got a little too uncomfortable. Before he left, though, he grabbed enough of his neighbor's information to pretend to be him up in Massachusetts. His little ruse came to an end a couple of months later when he was stopped for a traffic violation, then immediately arrested for being an unregistered sex offender. He found himself having to convince the police that all the identification he was carrying was faked, confessing felonies, in order to avoid more serious penalties. The moral of this story: if you're going to steal someone's identity, make sure they're not in worse trouble than you are already.


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Comments (16)

How about going on a 23 sta... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

How about going on a 23 state bank robbing spree and letting the other Jay take the fall for it? Wouldn't that be even more fun? Having a few million to blow while he was locked in cage blowing something besides money seem like justice to me.

putting together these case... (Below threshold)

putting together these cases for prosecution can be a nightmare (and it IS a felony).

Friday one of my agencies brought over an inches thick report on ID theft... over 21 victims spread out all over the country. .. I'm not laughing.

But here's something funny for your dumb criminal stories from my jurisdiction:

A guy is very proud and protective of his brand new fully tricked out Ford Explorer. Loves that baby. Gets up one morning, goes to his garage and the SUV is GONE! Guy flips out, calls police. He meets them in his front yard as they arrive. He is pissed ranting as the police try and take down the pertinent information.

"Sir, we need to know, when was the last time you saw your SUV?"

"I told you, last night before I went to bed."

"Sir, and where did you have your SUV"

"In MY GARAGE! With the #@!# door closed!"

"May we see where you kept it?"

Whereby the guy, still seething, leads the cops to his garage, opens the door and they all walk in...

And the cops see he has a meth lab in the garage.

Jay: In your fantasy, do yo... (Below threshold)
julie:

Jay: In your fantasy, do you look like Ashley Judd?

Julie, only from the waist ... (Below threshold)

Julie, only from the waist up.

That would certainly fix th... (Below threshold)

That would certainly fix them. As long as you're collecting stupid crime stories, I just wrote about one the other day, involving stupid people who don't trust banks and even stupider criminals that don't know how to spend $. Happened in Cambria County (the ex-township of Spangler) in Pennsylvania.

You can hit the link embedded in my name below to to right to the story.

JayInterestingly, ... (Below threshold)

Jay

Interestingly, here is a story about victims of ID theft getting a "passport" to prove their innocence

Victims of identity theft in Virginia, Ohio and now Arkansas (search) have a way to make the experience a little less painful, and to get their good names back a bit sooner.

Identity theft passports, which carry the photo and name of the victim and are issued by the state, can help victims prove to creditors, police and their banks that they’ve had their identities stolen and aren’t responsible for crimes committed with their identity

My understanding is that id... (Below threshold)

My understanding is that identity theft is also covered by this license.

You and Bill been smoking t... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

You and Bill been smoking the funny stuff again. Seems you did inhale.

The ONLY WAY to stop ID the... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

The ONLY WAY to stop ID theft is to get rid of social security numbers and come up with a number for govt use ONLY. It is too easy to steal and find these numbers and once you have it a genies bottle is opened. commercial credit systems and bloated govt beaurocracy should be left completely seperate. The less people who have your core details the BETTER.

My dictionary says "homicid... (Below threshold)
DJ:

My dictionary says "homicide" is "the killing of one human being by another". You would thus have to prove that there was only one human being involved, not two with the same identity.

Good luck.

Identity theft appears more... (Below threshold)
Just Don:

Identity theft appears more widespread than it actually is due to defining crimes such as simple check forgery by common criminals as identify theft and, of course, media coverage.

Identity theft requires some intelligence, freedom to travel and/or change city of residence frequently, etc. Actually, it is probably easier to simply use your own identity and work a regular job than to succeed as identity theft for an extended period.

By the way, Jay, I believe suicide is illegal in most states...just hard to punish those who succeed.

Yeah... that solution would... (Below threshold)
John:

Yeah... that solution would sub-optimal if Jay-II ended up killing Jay-I.

Just DonHuh? I beg... (Below threshold)

Just Don

Huh? I beg to differ, I don't think people know how wide-spread identity theft really is!

Just curious, how seriously... (Below threshold)
Battsman:

Just curious, how seriously do our courts take this? I hope the punishment is pretty severe. After all, it would seem that ID theft can be much more damaging than a one-time robbery, and should be punished accordingly.

I'm kinda hoping for the sp... (Below threshold)

I'm kinda hoping for the spouse or child of a Senator to have a brutal identity raping in order for the problem to rise to the necessary urgency.

Could someone ruin Jenna or Barb's credit ratings real soon?

Just not Chelsea Clinton, because if Hillary takes up borders and ID theft for her 2008 campaign before the GOP does... that will suck. Really.

Battsman: They've only star... (Below threshold)
julie:

Battsman: They've only started taking seriously in the mid to late 90s. Part of the problem was that many victims were not very cooperative. They often knew who was impersonating them but wouldn't give up the name. You would advise them on what to do not to get picked up on someone else's warrant, which they promptly ignored and were picked up again.




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