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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: Identity Thieves and The Accessibility of Personal Information

I regularly teach [identity theft to] agents at the FBI Academy, and one little demonstration I do is ask one of my students for his address. Nothing more, not even his name. By the following morning I'm able to hand over to him twenty-two pieces of so-called "private" information about him, including his Social Security number, birth date, salary, current bank and account numbers, mother's maiden name, children's names, spouse's name and Social Security Number, and neighbors. I can even reveal who lives with him in his house but isn't related to him. And I don't even have to do something as dramatic as hack into his bank database. All this information is readily available from publicly accessible sources on the Internet, and you or Joe Criminal can get it as easily as I did. Imagine how much I could have found out about the guy if I had decided to break the law!

Frank W. Abagnale [of Catch Me If You Can fame], Stealing Your Life, 2009

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