True-Life Identity Theft Stories

JAN 28, 2011

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Sometimes reality is more outrageous than fiction. The following identity theft stories are just a few that show how identity thieves go to extremes to steal your identity and take your hard earned money.   Their foibles may  give you insights on  how to  guard your personal information and  tricks to look out for, to prevent identity theft.

Would you like a scam with dinner?

While out to dinner and waiting for their credit card to be returned after paying the bill, a couple lost track of the time. When the waiter eventually came back, they realized he had taken longer than usual to process their payment. A few weeks later, they noticed several strange charges on their statement. Apparently, the waiter was able to copy the magnetic strip and send it to an accomplice. The waiter may have assumed the couple was from out of town and that they would not return to the restaurant. Fortunately, the couples dinner partners visited the restaurant frequently and knew the name of the waiter. Read more at Identity Theft Chat.

Criminal without a clue

A woman found a lost wallet and used the credit cards in it to make almost $400 in purchases from a gas station and grocery store. Surveillance video showed the woman who used the stolen card at the store was also using a store Shoppers Rewards Card. The police checked the stores records and found that the woman had used her own rewards card. She was identified and arrested. Read the news story.

Property deed predators

In 2008, it took thieves only 90 minutes to steal the Empire State Building. The thieves created fake paperwork and were able to get the deed transferred to a non-existent company. On the information provided to the city register, King Kong  actress Fay Wray was listed as a witness.

Other thieves have similarly stolen property. An 88-year-old womans granddaughter stole her house, pocketing $445,000 in mortgages she took out. Another man impersonated someone who had been dead for 19 years and deeded the dead mans property to himself. He then sold it to another person, who took out a $533,000 mortgage and took off with the cash. Read the Daily News article.

Can you say busted?

A policewoman who was her bureaus resident expert on identity theft and fraud investigations became an identity theft target herself. While involved in an investigation into a major counterfeit check ring, the detective received an email from a local grocery store alerting her that her name showed up on a bad check. The counterfeiters also used her precinct address as the address of their fake business. It didnt take long to bust those crooks! Read more at