You Can Be Anyone You Want: Identity Theft Is Easy

from the blame-the-system dept

MSNBC, which has been covering identity theft stories for quite some time, is now running a very long excerpt from a book about identity theft called Your Evil Twin : Behind the Identity Theft Epidemic. It goes over the stories of a few of the biggest identity theft criminals around, showing just how they impersonated the rich and famous to take their money. The scary part, of course, was just how easy it was — and how unsophisticated the scams really were. While the press hyped up the capture of one of the criminals, in looking at the details, it becomes clear that the guy made a lot of silly mistakes (such as using the same free email account for a variety of his scams — often within the same bank). The real culprit is the system by which the credit card companies and the credit bureaus run their businesses. As it stands, they have very little incentive to actually secure the system. Instead, they let it the crimes occur, and let everyone else deal with the mess.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “You Can Be Anyone You Want: Identity Theft Is Easy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
1 Comment
TJ says:

Oh yeah - what about those pesky consumers

Sadly it is more than just credit card companies and credit bureaus. Did you know that it is increasely common to be able to buy things by instant check? For that all you need is the checking account number and maybe the account name. No signature, no PIN, no verification. Think about that. Anyone who sees one of your checks can buy things on your dime.

These days I use online banking through my credit union, where the checks that are issued to payees don’t include my real account number. For payments at the local market or mall I use a credit card, which at least lets me easily contest and be credited for fraudulent purchases (and I speak from experience). For online purchases I used to use American Express private payments, but sadly they’ve stopped that program due to lack of interest (theirs or ours I don’t know.)

Now we need to shred anything we throw out, be paranoid that anyone who sees our checks or credit/debit card may be the antichrist, and wonder when our good name and credit rating might get dragged through the mud despite our best efforts.

A better, far more secure, system is definitely needed. But since it would be more costly for the big companies to create than to keep letting the little guy get screwed over, we’ll continue to get more of the same. Pass the vaseline please.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...