Here’s an identity theft story you likely won’t read or see in the big news any time soon… but it’s one to consider.
Imagine this: You’re driving along, with your two kids, ages 18 and 14,
and suddenly you see blue and red lights reflecting off the front dash. You realize that you missed a stop sign, and that this must be a stop to give you a warning to not miss that stop sign again.
You turn on your flashers, pull to the side of the road, and wait for the officer to come to your window.
But no officer comes. Instead, after five minutes of waiting, two more squad cars pull up behind the one which initially pulled you over. As this happens, you hear the following words through a megaphone from the first car.
“Put your hands where I can see them, and step out of the vehicle.”
Such was the case for Ramon Ignacio Linares’ who was a victim of identity theft in California several years ago. The identity theft resulted in criminal charges being filed in his name, despite the fact that he was in no way involved with any illegal activity.
“But officer, it wasn’t me. I didn’t do it.”
How many police officers hear that phrase every day?
The way he eventually was released was by producing a “court-ordered warrant,” complete with a fingerprint card, that showed a photograph of the man who is actually believed to have committed the crimes now troubling the real Linares.
Officer Michael Stevens, who wrote the report, also noted Linares did not have a scar over his right eye that police dispatch indicated the man who is actually wanted by authorities would have.
The police were doing their job here, so they’re not to blame.
But who is?
The computer system for falsely identifying him? The legal system for adding something to his record that wasn’t his? The social security administration for assigning a social security number, and continuing to use a system which can so easily be duped?
Regardless of who’s to blame, it’s a shame that this is now almost a daily occurrence for at least a few people, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.