Nearly every day police officers hear the words “it wasn’t me.”
But what if you were arrested for something that truly had nothing to do with you? Or what if you heard reports you were wanted for a crime you didn’t commit?
That second scenario is just what happened to Kevin Wehner, a hard-working construction worker and father of three living in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s all detailed in this Sun Sentinel story. His wallet was stolen while he was vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Soon after, bills started showing up in the mail for cars he never purchased; he reported the identity theft to Florida police. Fast forward four years. The man who stole Kevin’s identity — Shawn Labeet — shot and killed a Miami-Dade police officer. Labeet’s girlfriend then gave police his alias — yep, Kevin Wehner. Next thing you know, Kevin is hearing reports he’s wanted for killing a cop. What a mess.
In another story of criminal identity theft out of Albuquerque, 40-year-old resident John Ganley who works as a dispatcher at an Air Force Base was actually arrested for a crime he didn’t commit after his identity was stolen in 2015.
Criminal identity theft occurs when someone gives your name and information to law enforcement in place of their own. “It could be anything from a serious crime to a minor traffic stop, but the end result is that your name and data are tied to an open police matter,” according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
This is part of why it’s so important to file a police report if your wallet or purse is stolen. That way if the thief impersonates you, you can prove your identity was compromised.
Your identity can certainly be stolen even if you don’t lose your wallet or have your purse stolen.
In a terrifying story detailed in this Reddit post, the identity of a 4-year-old New Mexico boy was stolen in 2016. The police showed up at the family’s door to serve a warrant on the preschooler.
Turns out a man who is wanted in another state and has an upcoming trial was using the 4-year-old’s name, address and Social Security number. The parents explained the situation to the police, showing officers their son’s birth certificate, Social Security number, etc.
“(The police) encouraged us to file a criminal identity theft report and we’ve been working with the local PD to get these cleared up,” a person with username terfly writes. “I am just at a loss at even where to begin. As of right now, my son is uninsured and I can’t get him insured because of [sic] SS number has been flagged. I am going to apply for a new one but do I need to wait until the criminal investigation thing wraps up [sic].”
Who would you call if your identity — or your beloved child’s — was stolen? According to recent statistics, the average identity theft victim spends upwards of 200 hours repairing the damage. Just like the New Mexico parent explains, “I didn’t know where to begin” is a common refrain among victims. Identity theft is overwhelming and victims suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia and other debilitating symptoms.
Subscribe to LibertyID and rest easy knowing you’re covered. Our subscribers save themselves massive amounts of time and stress by having our service to rely on when something does happen. If your identity is stolen, we assign you a personal recovery advocate who will clean up the mess and restore your identity to pre-event status. With the LibertyID Family Plan, your significant other, parents and children would all be covered as well.
Are you covered for identity theft?