By in Random

Identity Theft - Not a Victimless Crime

This is my third article about identity theft, a very serious problem in the world today. Some people may think it's a "victimless crime", since once identity theft is discovered, it can usually be rectified--you should be held unresponsible for charges you didn't make, and the companies who provided goods or services to the person who stole your info can usually claim the losses against their taxes. After all, it's not like someone knocked you down and stole your purse, or burgled your house, right?

Oh, heck no. There are plenty of victims. Most primary, of course, is the person whose information is stolen. Depending on how ambitious YOUR personal thief was, your complications may range from simply having to clear up charges on one credit card (as I did in this post ) to spending literally YEARS sorting out tangled red tape with stores, companies, and even your local government. Some people have found out the scammer has actually used their information to buy a house, or actually managed to SELL a house that the victim owns!

And this is to say nothing of how difficult it can be to get your credit record straightened out. It's one thing to catch charges that you didn't make on a credit card statement you receive, but quite another when an identity thief gets a brand new card in your name, and the statements don't even come to you. Those statements go unpaid, and now you have flags all over your credit report from accounts you didn't know existed! It can take months to even discover the problem, and years to sort through the mess.

Lastly, we are all victims of the crime of identity theft if the stores, banks and companies raise prices or fees to deal with their losses. Losses ARE tax deductible, but they are still losses, and companies that show fewer profits lose their market share. If banks have to invest more money growing their fraud departments, they may boost fees or reduce benefits. So if you or anyone you know has considered running this kind of scam because you don't think it hurts anyone, think again. Stealing what's not yours is wrong; you know it, and doing wrong will come back around and get you. Scammers go to jail every day!

More on identity theft and scams:

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cmoneyspinner wrote on June 10, 2015, 9:08 PM

Not sure why anybody would think identity theft is a "victimless crime". When a crime is committed against an individual, the individual is the victim! All crime has a "ripple effect", though we may not be aware of it.

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:09 AM

Identity theft is one of the worst crimes. And it can happen without you even knowing it.

iwrite28 wrote on June 11, 2015, 7:05 AM

Identity theft is a far more serious offense than it is considered right now.

alexdg1 wrote on June 11, 2015, 1:35 PM

I am always fascinated - and repelled - by the X is a "victimless crime" mindset. I've heard that term applied to various other activities, including piracy of books, movies, music, and computer software. The usual defense that I've heard the most in cases of bootleg DVDs and computer games is: "The studios/game companies charge too much/make billions of dollars. A few bootleg copies won't dent their bottom line."

Not only is this a fallacy, but most of the people that I know that have bought (knowingly) pirated movies and games think they're entitled to do so. The usual whine/boast goes something like this: "Oh, I can't afford what Steven Spielberg is charging for 'Jurassic Park' on Blu-ray, so I bought a bootlegged copy for $5. And why should I have to pay more when I can get it cheaper?" (Never mind that it's not Steven Spielberg himself who sets the price on the Blu-ray/DVD sets; it's Comcast-owned Universal Home Entertainment that does that.)

valmnz wrote on June 13, 2015, 2:49 AM

I can understand why some people I know refuse to have a very obvious identity online. This is something we all need to take seriously and protect ourselves as much as we can.

CoralLevang wrote on June 13, 2015, 3:08 PM

Too much time on as myself to stop being me. If someone wants my identity, though, they should be willing to take the cancer that goes along with it!!

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:44 PM

Some people try to justify their dishonesty, believe me.

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:45 PM

Exactly--it's quite insidious! I don't want to have to be paranoid, but I do take precautions, like limiting my online transactions, shredding documents with sensitive info, etc.

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:46 PM

It can really make someone's life just miserable emoticon :sad:

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:47 PM

I had commented recently that I think the reason concert tickets have gotten so expensive is that so many people download music for free that that is the only way the artist can make money. Sure makes it a lot harder to go see concerts! emoticon :sad:

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:48 PM

I agree--I keep a fairly low profile online, with screen names rather than my real name.

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2015, 6:48 PM

And they can keep it, too!

CoralLevang wrote on June 19, 2015, 11:29 AM

Eggs-ack-ry! This shit is for the birds! LOL
Always good to read your writing, Ali.