Stop, ID Thief!

File under P for Pain-in-the-Ass. It looks like I’m yet anoth­er vic­tim of iden­ti­ty theft. Here are the details:

A cou­ple of days ago, I was con­tact­ed by a Pub­lic Rela­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive, work­ing on behalf of a US com­pa­ny who man­u­fac­tures high-end Home The­atre Remote Controls. While they were show­ing their prod­ucts at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES) in Las Vegas ear­li­er this month, a man approached their booth claim­ing to be a reporter for Time Mag­a­zine.  He asked for some sam­ple units to review and pro­vid­ed cre­den­tials.  Accord­ing to the sales­per­son who I talked to today at the com­pa­ny, the guy  ‘looked the part’.  He said he was ‘Mark Druck­er’, pro­vid­ed them with a Las Vegas address, and a link to a post­ing I did for the Bar­Camp­BankBC event last Sep­tem­ber for TechVibes when they asked for “a link to a recent sto­ry or a scan of a recent clip from Time.”

The PR Rep. con­tact­ed Rob Lewis at TechVibes, who imme­di­ate­ly got him in touch with me (Thanks again, Rob!), and that’s how I found out about this inci­dent. I con­firmed with the PR per­son that I was­n’t the guy at their booth, and they got in touch with the com­pa­ny, who for­ward­ed a thread of emails they had with the guy, who had fol­lowed up with them, pro­vid­ing the link to my TechVibes post. They also gave me a phone num­ber to the head of Mar­ket­ing at the com­pa­ny (who met this guy), which I then called.

I’m bet­ting that this guy did­n’t fig­ure on the ven­dor doing much of a check on him and gave the link to my arti­cle because I was one of the Druck­ers who came up high on Google (A new per­il for hav­ing good SEO!).  If you search for ‘David Druck­er’, after my blogs, the Techvibes arti­cle is the third hit, and I’m most of the links on the first page . The fact that I was in Cana­da was prob­a­bly a nice-to-have for his scam.

As for the dif­fer­ent first name, when asked, the guy said that he some­times wrote under the name ‘David’.  He left his name on piece of paper with the com­pa­ny. Accord­ing to their Head of Mar­ket­ing, he did a quick search on Google and found a Mark and Jill Druck­er in Las Vegas at the address he gave them.  Lucky for me, I got wind of this pret­ty quick­ly, and their Head of Mar­ket­ing is extreme­ly knowl­edge­able about this sort of thing, even hav­ing writ­ten an arti­cle him­self on iden­ti­ty theft.  I did a Google search as well, and quick­ly found the same infor­ma­tion for Mark and Jill Druck­er at that address. I even saw what the house looked like, and accord­ing to I  know the val­ue of the place and square footage.

I called the Las Vegas Police. While they took the time to lis­ten, they explained that they could­n’t file a police report for an Iden­ti­ty Theft crime over the phone, with­out the vic­tim report­ing it to them in per­son with ID (makes sense). In the US, it is pos­si­ble to file a ‘Cour­tesy Police Report’ in a dif­fer­ent state, and have it sent to the state where the crime took place. While I don’t know if Cana­da has an arrange­ment to do this, I’ve con­tact­ed the Van­cou­ver Police, and am expect­ing a call back lat­er today for them to gath­er the details. Hope­ful­ly they will for­ward it on to the LVPD Fraud Detail.  Also, with the Police Report in hand, I can con­tact Equifax, Exper­ian and Tran­sUnion, as well as my cred­it card issuers to put a ‘watch’ on all of my cred­it cards, and to make sure that if this guy tries to open a new cred­it card account in my name, he won’t be able to do so. This blog post is anoth­er way of fight­ing back, as well as the Twit­ter link that went out when I pub­lished it.

Let’s hope that this guy does­n’t try this again.

9 Replies to “Stop, ID Thief!”

  1. It’s crazy how iden­ti­ty theft goes on. I had some­one writ­ing checks against my Visa card when I was in the US.

    I don’t think the police real­ly ded­i­cate much effort to fol­low up on these crimes, unfor­tu­nate­ly. It’s prob­a­bly under­stand­able, giv­en the size of the prob­lem, and lim­it­ed resources.

  2. Thanks, Car­ol. I did­n’t know what to do, but for­tu­nate­ly the guy at the com­pa­ny real­ly did. This was a case of a lazy thief who assumed that every­one else would be as lazy as he was.

    Jim, I hear you. I hope this is the end of the sto­ry (after I talk to the police and noti­fy the cred­it companies).

  3. Wow. That’s a new low for scam­mers… Using your work to get something.

    I’m still shak­ing my head.

    I miss you guys, btw! We need to catch up soon.

    Oh, and if you have time, you should come by my blog and play the MEET n’ Greet — It’d be great to have you in the mix!

  4. This guy approached my booth at CES 2009 and pulled the same stunt! I have sent you an email in regards to my expe­ri­ence with this clown! Thank you for writ­ing this blog. You saved the com­pa­ny I work for and myself a pile of mon­ey! It’s too bad that this bas­tard is going around doing this. If i ever run into him he’s gonna get it good!

  5. Wow! Got your email and have replied as well. I won­der how many oth­ers this guy tried to scam? I’d say that there needs to be bet­ter screen­ing of CES atten­dees to make sure that scam­mers can’t get away with crap like this.

  6. Wow. That real­ly sucks and is real­ly [insert exple­tive here] pathet­ic. I hope some­thing gets done to this guy — and rather pub­licly so that oth­ers learn not to try this at home.

  7. Thanks for the sup­port, Tanya and Mon­i­ca. I guess it’s just a haz­ard of the age of the Inter­nets (Hey, now that Oba­ma is prez, do we still use the plur­al or is that now Bush-league?)

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