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 lasvegas.blockshopper.com 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 Comments to “Stop, ID Thief!”

  1. Avatarcarolbrowne
    1

    UGH. Awful. I’m so glad you posted this info. I would have no idea the process if that were to hap­pen to me.

    What a dirtbag.

  2. AvatarJim Pick
    2

    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.

  3. AvatarDavid Drucker
    3
    Author Comment

    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).

  4. AvatarTanya (aka NetChick)
    4

    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!

  5. AvatarEddie Brink
    5

    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!

  6. AvatarDavid Drucker
    6
    Author Comment

    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.

  7. AvatarMonica Hamburg
    7

    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.

  8. AvatarDavid Drucker
    8
    Author Comment

    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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