John Webb found out his identity had been stolen 20 years ago. It was a revelation that led to hours on the phone with credit card companies, banks and government agencies. Today, Webb helps prosecute identity thieves, who are growing in number and advancing technologically, targeting everyone from senior citizens to large law firms. He wouldn’t wish the affects of ID-theft on his worst enemy.
Identity theft is difficult to prosecute because it often goes undetected for months or years, and culprits are hard to track down. Part of the problem is that it is difficult for victims to go after the hackers’ money in civil court because outdated case law and statutes don’t address modern technology. The monetary loss is the least of the victim’s problems, the difficult part is that, most of the time, you don’t know where that breach has occurred. The victimization keeps on going. Every time you get a call from a collection agency, you have to write a letter to a credit agency saying, “That’s not me.”
Sgt. David Howard with the Metro Police Department’s fraud division said cleaning up identity theft can take a victim up to 700 hours of phone calls, affidavits and paperwork. If money has been taken, there’s usually no way to get it back.