Loud Murmurs

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.“— Mahatma Gandhi

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.

8 Comments

  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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