A few years ago a Southern California woman named Michelle Brown contacted the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse seeking help regarding an especially difficult identity theft situation. An identity thief had not only obtained credit using Michelle's Social Security number (SSN) but also used her information when arrested for crimes. The thief obtained information provided by Michelle on a housing application and procured over $50,000 in goods and services including a lease for an apartment, a $32,000 truck, and liposuction. But Michelle's experience as a victim didn't end at credit fraud. The thief also obtained a state- issued ID using Michelle's name and later engaged in drug smuggling for which she was arrested as Michelle.
Michelle was eventually able to see her perpetrator brought to justice. Michelle was also able to use her situation to call for stronger laws to fight identity theft. She testified about her experience before a U.S. Senate Committee, chaired by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl. The testimony is posted on the PRC website and contains a timeline of her ordeal: www.privacyrights.org/cases/victim8.htm
This harrowing story will be portrayed, though significantly fictionalized, on a Lifetime TV movie the evening of Monday, November 1, 2004 at 9 p.m. EST and PST. PRC Director Beth Givens is portrayed briefly in the second half of the movie for her role in assisting Michelle and advocating on her behalf. Although Michelle's story has been altered for the TV movie, the bare outline as portrayed by Lifetime is true. We are pleased that viewers will be able to see the kind of work that the PRC has done for victims of identity theft over the years. Check your local listings for exact times.
For more information about the movie, see: www.lifetimetv.com/movies/originals/index.html
Take our Identity Theft IQ Test to see if you might be a potential victim of identity theft at: www.privacyrights.org/ITquiz-interactive.htm
For more information on how to minimize your risk for identity theft, what to do if it happens to you and other PRC resources on identity theft, see www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm.