This evening, I heard yet another horror story about identity theft. Yet another tale of a poor schmuck whose life is ruined because some scumbag got ahold of his personal information and is screwing him over all over the country.
As you might have guessed, this is a hot-button issue for me. And as is my wont, I have a simple, modest proposal to deter identity theft.
Let’s suppose someone manages to get their hands on my personal information and decides to impersonate me. (Lord knows why — although I have a spotless criminal record, I wouldn’t wish my credit rating on Markos “Screw ‘Em” Zuniga.) And let’s suppose I manage to track them down and confront them. And during the confrontation, I kill them.
Under my fantasy, the courts would look at this and say “Hmm. It appears that Mr. Jay Tea killed Mr. Jay Tea. There is no law against suicide, of course — there’s no sense in trying a dead person. So by that interpretation, there was no crime here.”
Now, I might have to stand trial for assisting in a suicide, or improper disposal of a corpse, or littering, but I think under those circumstances I’d take my punishment. It’d be worth it.
(Personal anecdotes below the fold)
1) Several years ago, this dirtbag was bouncing checks all over Manchester and using my phone number. After the fourteenth or so call looking for him and disbelieving that I wasn’t him or knew where he was, I tracked down his address and phone number. I promptly called back all his creditors and gave them that information, then called him and left him a message outlining exactly what I had done — including the names of the businesses I had called. It was quite a gratifying experience. Moral of the story: be careful who you rope into your problems. They might just turn around and bite you on the ass.
2) I like to collect “dumb criminal” stories. One of my favorites was about a guy who decided to leave Florida when things got a little too uncomfortable. Before he left, though, he grabbed enough of his neighbor’s information to pretend to be him up in Massachusetts. His little ruse came to an end a couple of months later when he was stopped for a traffic violation, then immediately arrested for being an unregistered sex offender. He found himself having to convince the police that all the identification he was carrying was faked, confessing felonies, in order to avoid more serious penalties. The moral of this story: if you’re going to steal someone’s identity, make sure they’re not in worse trouble than you are already.