TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: An Unsettling Surprise: Victimized by ID Theft

Re: An Unsettling Surprise: Victimized by ID Theft
25 Jul 2005 11:28:28 -0700

Andrew Plato wrote:


> The irony of my experience is that I am a computer-security
> professional. I make my living helping organizations secure their
> information systems from break-ins and theft. ...

While there are good points in here, it sounds like a back-handed
advertisement for his services.

As a security professional, he probably has the means to find out
exactly how his identity was stolen and the account set up, but he
didn't elaborate in detail. I think that detail is important to share
with us lay people, especially on an actual case.

> When I called the police to report this crime, the officer was blunt
> about my predicament. He said police get hundreds of identity-theft
> claims every week, and almost all of them go unpunished. And because
> credit firms don't hold consumers liable, these crimes are considered
> victimless.

This attitude on the part of law enforcement needs to be changed.
It's been documented that this attitude is responsible for the growth
since criminals know they'll get away with it. My local newspaper
described how a used-car salesman would color-photocopy a buyer's
driver's license then use it for fraudulent purposes. He was not
aggressively prosecuted because the amount stolen was below their

> All crime has two components: motivation and opportunity. People must
> be motivated to commit a crime and have the opportunity to do so. We
> cannot do much about motivation, but we can surely do something about
> opportunity.

Actually, us lay people can do NOTHING about 'opportunity'. I have no
idea what big data warehouses handle my information, let alone dictate
to them to maintain proper controls and security.

'Motivation' is a tougher challenge, but must be addressed as well.
All the locks in the world won't stop a determined thief. We need to
know (1) who are the perpetrators of these thefts and (2) what will be
truly effective deterrents. I suspect they know it's very hard to get
caught, let alone sent to prison, from doing this kind of thing.
Society is much more focused on 'violent' crime. If you use a gun to
steal $100 you'll be in worse trouble than using a PC to steal
$10,000. Being robbed at gunpoint is very traumatic but people will
recover and the property loss manageable. Being robbed secretly of
'identity' is equally traumatic and a lot tougher to recover--the
theft keeps coming back day after day with more bad news arriving in
the mail.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Bob Vaughan: "Re: Ethics of Deterrence"
Go to Previous message: William Warren: "Re: R-TEC Isolation Filter and Unknown Box"
May be in reply to: Andrew Plato: "An Unsettling Surprise: Victimized by ID Theft"
Next in thread: Steve Sobol: "Re: An Unsettling Surprise: Victimized by ID Theft"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page