Is It ID Theft Or Was The Bank Robbed?

from the which-one-seems-more-accurate dept

Via Clay Shirky, comes a very good point from Kevin Marks concerning claims of "identity theft," where he notes that identity theft is not actually an identity being stolen but is usually a bank/credit card company being robbed and passing off the blame for their own poor security on the victim. He point to a brilliant comedy routine by Mitchell and Webb that makes this all pretty clear:
"They took all the money? That sounds more like a bank robbery."
"No, no. If only. 'Cause we could take the hit. No, no. It was actually your identity that was stolen, primarily. It's a massive pisser for you."
"But, it's actually money that's been taken..."
"Yes"
"From you?"
"Kind of."
"I don't know what you want from me other than my commiserations."
"You see it was your identity. They said they were you!"
"And you believed them?"
"Yes, they stole your identity."
"Well, I don't know. I seem to still have my identity, whereas you seem to have lost several thousands of pounds. In light of that, I'm not sure why you think it was my identity that was stolen instead of your money."
The problem isn't "identity theft." It's bad security and verification processes by a financial institution.

Filed Under: identity theft, scams, security


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  1. icon
    Kevin Stapp (profile), 19 Aug 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    "Well, I don't know. I seem to still have my identity, whereas you seem to have lost several thousands of pounds. In light of that, I'm not sure why you think it was my identity that was stolen instead of your money."

    I never thought of it this way either but having been a victim of ID theft I can attest the attitude of banks and credit card companies regarding 'your' problem.

    In my case someone used my ID to apply for credit cards then subsequently a large loan ($15k). Once I got copies of the applications so I could prove I didn't actually take out a loan here's what I found on the application:

    1. My middle name was misspelled
    2. My employment history was completely wrong. It listed current and former employers I never worked for
    3. Telephone number was invalid
    4. Street address physically did not exist
    5. Personal references and contact information were fictitious
    6. Drivers license presented as ID had a different DOB, no picture and was issued from a state that differed from the bogus address on the application

    I pointed out to the 'fraud' investigator that even the most rudimentary attempt at verification of the information on the application should have raised red flags. He stated it wasn't their job to verify every bit of information on an application. He also stated that even though the application had fraudulent information that didn't prove that I wasn't the one who submitted the bogus application. The conversation degenerated from there.

    In the end I was able to clear up my credit but it was an eye opener to realize that companies handing out money regard you as the primary victim of a crime and that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

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