Digital or Analog, identity theft is frightening, anxiety provoking, and tedious – even if you aren’t in danger of losing money or at risk of physical injury. But it’s often not that simple – for the victim or the perpetrator. As an Applebee’s waitress in Lakewood, Colorado, found out, identity theft in the real world can be more frightening than digital theft.
A few weeks ago, the waitress, Brianna Priddy, while out with some friends (not while working), apparently lost her wallet with all of her credit cards, her checks, and her driver’s license, as well as the cash. She dutifully went through the time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process of calling, writing and notifying everyone she could remember, alerting them to stop transactions that may involve the lost instruments and identification, and asking for replacements. Not fun. Even when her bank called, alerting her to forged checks being issued, she probably resigned herself to living with some frustration, anxiety and pain for a while. But if you think digital identity theft is frightening, read on.
Fast forward, Ms. Priddy is now back at work, waiting tables. A group of young people at her station order drinks. She asks for ID. How amazing to find that one of the women at the table ordering a drink is none other than herself! Cloning? Not really. The woman in the group had offered the victimized waitress’ ID as proof, and I confess she must have been a lot calmer than I would have been. She didn’t let on and, according to reports, said to the patron, handing her back the ID, “I’ll be right back with your Margarita." The waitress called police and despite what must have been a nerve racking eternity, she tried to appear calm and collected waiting for the police to arrive. They did and promptly arrested the woman patron on suspicion of theft, identity theft and criminal impersonation.
Not all criminals are as unwitting or as helpful as the alleged thief in this case. Not all identity thieves are that cooperative, even by accident. Most digital identity theft, compromises of personally identifiable information, and data breaches are more complex, and involve more than one individual and often cross-state and national borders – with multiple statutory and regulatory schemes that apply to you, the “victim.” Rimon has an entire group dedicated and experienced to help companies deal with identity theft – from preventive policies to defense of legal rights with respect to consumers and regulators. If you need more information about the complex legal and regulatory involved, contact me, Joseph I. Rosenbaum, or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.