Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → Identity Theft ( 7 Jul 2003)
Monday 07 July 2003

Identity Theft

The Commonwealth of Virginia has created what they call a “Virginia Identity Theft Passport”, which is issued to victims of ‘identity theft’. The Washington Post tells the story of the first two people to get them:

Federal and state police put the cuffs on 32-year-old Angel Gonzales in front of his wife and two young children just as the neighborhood school bus pulled up. “We’re taking your father to jail,” they told his 6-year-old daughter, walking Gonzales to the cruiser as his neighbors gawked.

The police had nabbed Gonzales, who lives in the Tidewater area of Virginia, on a Las Vegas fugitive warrant for cocaine charges. The warrant said he was armed and dangerous.

Ambur Daley, 27, was arrested in a North Carolina airport as she returned from visiting her grandmother in Canada. The Staunton, Va., resident was booked, fingerprinted and kept overnight in a local jail, accused of writing dozens of bad checks.

In fact, neither Daley nor Gonzales had done anything wrong. The crimes they were accused of were committed by phantoms — identity thieves, who have stolen their names, Social Security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers. Dependent on electronic records in databanks, police across the nation were chasing the wrong people.

Both are now armed with a Virginia Identity Theft Passport, the first two victims to participate in a program aimed at giving people such as Daley and Gonzales a fighting chance in convincing police of their innocence. A state law creating the program took effect Tuesday.

Just to make things absolutely clear, we’re talking about a document that the government would issue to you that would, hopefully, keep police from arresting you and throwing you in jail for something someone else has done. It would only work, of course, in the case of mistaken identity — where a bad guy has been posing as you — and not when the police just got it wrong.

The government shouldn’t be arresting people who’ve done nothing wrong, but I’m not sure that another layer of bureaucracy and the existence of real-life Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards is the answer. How long would it take for these things to be counterfeited? “No, I’m Osama bin Laden the plumber, from Arlington. See, I have this card. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

Perhaps — and I realize that I’m being radical here — perhaps the answer is for the courts to issue ‘un-warrants’, and for them to be entered into the same systems that currently track normal warrants. So along with the information that Fred Flintstone is wanted for murder, drug trafficking, and pederasty, the police would be informed that the Circuit Court of Bedrock County has determined that someone else in another city is posing as Fred and getting in trouble.

This might eventually lead to the real suspects eventually being reclassified as John Does who are using whatever name as an alias; but I realize that it’s probably asking too much to expect the government to actually rescind warrants for the arrest of people whom they know to be innocent of the charges in question.

Posted by tino at 15:54 7.07.03
This entry's TrackBack URL::

Links to weblogs that reference 'Identity Theft' from Tinotopia.

Silly Tino…..don’t you know that teh only way to solve our problems isn’t to actually fix anything that is currently in place but put another system in place to correct for those problems.

And Mr. Gonzales and Ms. Daley should be happy that the police didn’t just raid their residences.

Posted by: Paul M Johnson at July 9, 2003 10:03 AM

I had a copy of the “identity theft” police report that I filed months before I was arrested. Commonwealth Attorney, Jeffery Coale, told U.S. Customs to arrest me anyway. Nice, huh?

Posted by: Ambur Daley at October 22, 2003 09:17 AM

Interesting. I was listening to a public access channel that monitors Police radio calls in Virginia Beach. The police were spelling names, relaying social security numbers, ages, and addresses to their dispatcher. Seems like they are promoting identity theft rather than combating it. The idiocy of the Police department used to amuse me, now I’m getting paranoid.

Posted by: Stan LaCount at March 17, 2005 11:39 AM