Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who am I?

If you were hoping for some existential reflections, you’ll have to wait for a later date. Today my contemplations are about my legal identification.

My identity was stolen last week—credit cards opened in my name and our checking account drained of funds.

Although I will hopefully not have any lasting financial impact, my first few days of identify-theft remind me of coping with other tragedies like death. When someone else has a death of a family member or friend, I can be empathetic, but I do not know exactly how he is feeling, nor can I truly share his perspective. I always felt bad for folks that had their Social Security Numbers stolen, but never shared in their anguish.

I never before contemplated these burning questions: Who is this imposter? Does he even look anything like me? Is he at least good-looking? Why did he choose me? How did he get my information? Will he be caught? How can I ever rest easy about my identity security again?

Identity Theft is a very strange crime of which to be a victim. I happened to find out immediately due to fraud detection at my bank and a credit card. But the other new credit card I detected on my own by accessing my credit report. I could not have discovered the crime until well after it was committed.

These acts of fraud are a byproduct of our modern world. While my friends and family recognize my physical appearance and voice and know my character through our interactions, the rest of the world recognizes my SSN, address and driver’s license and knows my character through a compilation of recorded historical behaviors. It would be quite a feat (Mission Impossible worthy) to be an impostor in my personal life, but much easier to use my basic information to get credit in my name.

I hope my impostor had a fun weekend and enjoys his freedom before our legal system brings him to justice.

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