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Topic : 07/19 Identity Theft

Number of Replies: 99
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Created on : Friday, April 13, 2007, 03:11:19 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 04/17) Having a stranger steal from you is bad enough, but what happens when your own flesh and blood does it? Ricky and Ray say their brother, Robin, has been stealing their identities for years. Robin has used his older sibling’s ID to open lines of credit, rent a mobile home, and he even attempted to buy a Harley! Worst of all, they say Robin used their names when he was arrested, causing warrants to be issued for them. The problem is so out of control that Ricky’s fiancée, Robyn, is worried about taking his last name after the wedding, for fear of being mistaken for Robin. The brothers want to confront their younger sibling but haven't been able to locate him. With Dr. Phil's help, the confrontation finally takes place. This is a showdown you don’t want to miss! Plus, identity theft can happen anywhere … even at your job. Dr. Phil wants to see just how easily this fraud occurs, so staff members do a little snooping around the Dr. Phil offices at night to see what personal information they can find. You won’t believe what they dig up! Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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July 20, 2007, 5:26 pm CDT

id theft

Quote From: n2bet1

 my sister has stolen my identy more than once ; she has stolen my younger sisters identy also;our ss # 's are only one number different ; there is 6 siblings total;  4 of our ss #'s are only one number different . this sister uses our id at will. have called the ss office , nothing they can do. have pressed charges on her , nothing been done yet, that was 2 years ago. she is 38 years old .   GROW UP!!!!
I am so sorry that you are going through the same thing we are going through with a 37 year old son. He started the id theft with his brother's name while in college. He stole a woman's card and got deferred adjudication, but that did not stop him. We finally did "tough love" because nothing would stop him. He almost made us lose our house when we put it up to get him out of jail. I wish now we would have left him. He only got out to hurt us more. There is a lot more to the the story. He used all of our social security numbers to get credit with the pre-approved application forms. he got $800 in my name. He hurt my husband's credit really bad. I had to buy a truck in my name because of the bad credit. My husband is very honest and has a very good electrical business here in our town. I feel that the credit card companies are to blame because he put down a lot of wrong references that could have been checked and he would not have gotten any cards. We have talked to the police about this and no one seems to care. I have not seen my son since he was 23, but it has not stopped him from getting money with our names.
July 20, 2007, 6:19 pm CDT

07/19 Identity Theft

I have a son that got all of our social security numbers and information while going to college and he start doing the credit card scam. He did get caught using an elderly ladies card and got deferred adjudication. I was so ashamed and thought he would never do that again. As we came out of the court house he told me that he would not get caught the next time. That was when he was 23 and now he is 37 and he still has not stopped. We finally did "tough love" which really only hurt us, I think. At one time he almost caused us to lose our house. We should have just left him in jail. He has hurt other people too. He use a card in my name and got $800 before the card was stopped. He has  gotten many cards in my husbands name for thousands of dollars and ruined his credit so I had to buy a truck for our business in my name. My husband is a very honest and hard working man. This has really hurt him.  We talked to a policeman in San Antonio and Corpus Christi and nothing was ever done. Maybe things are changing. I really think my son should be caught and made to pay or else.
July 23, 2007, 6:04 pm CDT

identity theft - THANKYOU! This is great info.

Quote From: anon_slc

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is very committed to investigating internet, telephone, mail crime and fraud.  The FTC works for the consumer to prevent criminal, fraudulent, deceptive and unfair, business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers report, spot, stop, and avoid them.


The following link to the FTC website, you'll find publications with advice on avoiding scams and rip-offs, as well as tips on other consumer topics and reporting consumer fraud. 


To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.


The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.



Hope it helps!





Thanks so much for posting the link.  Dr. Phil said, on his show, that his viewers could access "how to protect/watch out for identity theft" on his website.  I did a site search and then tried the message board and WHALA!  there was the info & link that I wanted.  Thanks again!  I'll be passing this link onto family and friends.

August 1, 2007, 3:15 pm CDT

Believe information is private?

Quote From: miamimike

The Identity Theft show missed the mark completely.  By focusing on the bad brother the real issue was avoided.  Identity theft is a misnomer created by corporations who are aided by a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  A person's identity is intrinsic, it can't be stolen.  What's getting stolen is money from large companies who are so anxious to make a profit they dont take the time to learn who theyre about to do business with.  The real crime is that these companies have convinced us, and apparently Dr. Phil, that their losses are our problem.  Dr. Phil said, ten million Americans have their identities ripped off every year.  How big does this problem have to become before we get smart enough to demand our legislators rewrite the laws to protect individual citizens instead of rich, powerful corporations?


Companies use technology to maximize their profits, but when thieves exploit companies' loose business practices, companies cry, "identity theft" to obscure their own weaknesses.  Try calling a credit card company and asking a simple question unrelated to personal information, such as their address to mail a payment...  They wont give you the answer until you answer a litany of questions, all designed so youll feel good that theyre trying to protect your identity.  But they apparently dont try very hard to protect our identities when it counts, when a thief applies for a new credit card by submitting a simple form using someone elses name. 


Social security numbers, driver license numbers and other identifying data can never be secure because countless people have legitimate access to these data, including health care administrators, bank workers, and government employees.  So instead of focusing on the impossible--trying to secure that which cannot be secured--we should be focusing on responsibility.  Dr. Phil advocates personal responsibility now its time to advocate corporate and government responsibility.  When a thief uses someone elses name to steal from a company, the company needs to accept responsibility for being swindled.  Im not suggesting we forgive the thieves, only that we make the companies go after the thieves, not the innocent, third parties who had nothing absolutely nothing to do with the theft. 


Dr. Phils show started off showing how staff members left account statements on their desks or in the trash.  This stunt is just one more example of blaming the victim.  What needs to be shown is how easily a thief can convince a company to open an account in someone elses name.  Only then will this problem get fixed.


When a company or government agency errs in identifying someone, they should be responsible for their error.  If a company incorrectly tells a credit bureau someone isnt paying their bills on time, then the company who made the mistake needs to be held accountable for the harm theyve caused.  Only when they see a financial penalty for making mistakes that hurt innocent people will they take the time to carefully screen their potential customers.  Government agencies also need to be held accountable when they act on incorrect information and harm innocent citizens.


When ten million of us are being victimized each year, we need powerful spokesmen like Dr. Phil to stand up and demand changes in the laws to protect the innocent and require those who make mistakes to accept responsibility for their mistakes.

Your point regarding the inaction and irresponsibility of business and government is well-stated and powerfully put!  YOU GO, miamimike!      Morever, it's an invasion-of-person to HAVE to surrender information to the reprehensible (who amazingly remain impervious to constraint or punishment).  Privacy-pledges have become shams with sneak-little 5-point-font attachments of self-obligation. (Be sure not to miss the line where they declare 'none of the preceding' applies to them!)  To keep violating the trust of innocents is to inflict harm--it errodes the spirit; clips their sense of freedom; confuses their sense of what's good and right anymore; undermines confidence that wants to cry 'I can do this'. Victimization, with deadbeat justice, only sucks out hope and eventually the soul of these trusting members of society.      Miamimike, you said that  "A person's identity is intrinsic, it can't be stolen."     On a philosophical level, there are limits to just how much an individual can take physically and psychologically. Futility sidelines reason, as well as the sense of having personal value. The feeling of being valued is important in the base-mix of identity. Many people maintain a solid sense of identity--well-prepared to handle life, and have ongoing resources and support to do so; whereas others fared without advantage of a guide to take them through and teach them how to process difficulties. It's a duty of the strong to be able to recognize and protect those whose coping may be more tenuous at times. In the Dr Phil show series I see that happening: as Dr. Phil works with these awesome and courageous guests, the unmentored in the audience vicariously glean from example, instruction and review. This improves the quality of lives...a precious gift to the individual and society-at-large.     Personally? The "wash" people accept from corporations and government convinces me: we must have all fallen into a trance!  That blame/control thing you mentioned, miamimike? It has closed us in with really sharp craftiness--the kind that bypasses common-sense thinking. The public is numb to act in agreement, even against their closest peers and to our ultimate own demise!! Reminds me of the story, How to kill a frog in a kettle of water? First you put the frog in the water at room temp; then you light a fire under the kettle to heat it up. The frog doesn't sense the water being heated because he's constantly adapting to it. Eventually the frog is overcome and dies. Next, try to put a fresh frog in that kettle of boiling water and he instantly jumps out! because he's got better "sense"? <get it?sense?...ahem!> As you pointed out, right now we're being had...coming AND going!       Can we really believe that an "individual's" privacy is secure?  Perhaps there's a parallel between advances in computer technology as a whole, and a phenomenon encountered at a certain plateau of learning in the course of job training for that field?  'The volume of knowledge' amassed may be impressive, and the ability to perform it may be a surety -- BUT -- even though they know much, they actually do know just-enough to get them often in great BIG trouble!     Regarding the problem of public trust, I think of a story about an elephant, who believes he's invisible as he hides behind a sapling tree...with his eyes closed!  The question is this: invisible "to whom?" Who is more deluded? The elephant hiding behind the tree?  The keepers who "honestly" gave him the pamphlet vouching so?--(and because afterall it's only their "job" they cry non-responsibility if elephant gets hurt--though they all well know that it's likely that he will)?  The owners who think they will get away with this? The sanctioning body that believes that the negative attention of "just getting caught" is enough to fix them?     Yes, miamimike. We may "need powerful spokesmen like Dr Phil to stand up and demand changes in the laws to protect the innocent..."  In a way, he's already doing that by setting up shows that educate the public about "silent epidemics" in society... (i.e., the elephant sitting in the middle of the livingroom that no one wants to acknowledge or talk about).  The problem is not necessarily in his celebrity-status--it's that his efforts are in vain unless people support him --and through actions, not just mental assent.
August 4, 2007, 2:02 pm CDT

Don't go messin with wallets!

  Watched the program on IdentityTheft with DR PHIL...<humorously> Unquestionably and especially-aware of its nuances, I give no thanks (but all the credit) for my educative experiences on this topic to a revengeful ex-husband; a swindling close-acquaintance in need; a sheisty online auctioneer; an institutional bankcard list-hacker; and the sociopath who stalked online supportgroups.      Being victimized was one of (among) the most incredibly-infuriating experiences in my life.  I fumed-- daily!!  It robbed me of sleep. It was curt and inconvenient--a nest of trouble and humiliations. When I became aggravated-enough to call the police and "complain" about 'the customers who kept calling me to demand their pricey merchandise' --(from an auctioneer who unfortunately had already absconded with their funds)-- their reaction frightened me. The police immediately responded and watched over my building until the time when that matter got resolved. That was scary! I wasn't thinking of the more perilous aspects of my situation!  Thank goodness, the police did!     So as you can see, I definitely empathize with the anger and great annoyance that Ricky and Ray were feeling towards their brother, Robin.  But as the show went on, my attention was diverted by something that was disturbing me about Ricky's manner (and some of the statements he made towards Robin). Things began to grow more chilling to me. I felt a rawness in the intensity of Ricky's anger towards Robin.  His energy seemed barely contained: not so much the "anger" part, but the intensity behind it. I felt a growing concern for Robin's safety. I wondered and thought to myself, "Could THAT have been the reason it took the expertise of a detective to locate him?  Was Robin hiding out from his brother's violent rage, and not just evading the brothers out of his own guilt? "     I felt that Ricky seemed to actually boast when he described how he hurt his brother so badly it put him in the hospital, twice!  Then Ricky made sure to emphasize how one of his attacks put that brother in intensive-care!  (To me, Ricky seemed proud of that!)  Around this point in the program my issue became more about his rage than Robin's rat-ty bratty alcoholic stunts! I remained concerned for Robin's physical welfare until I realized how all this was being captured on camera --insurance policy!     As the only sister of three rambunctious younger brothers I lived in a "boy's world" growing up, with the simultaneous distinction of being the oldest child and  'the only girl' in a neighborhood that was overrun by families of boys!  I observed that some boys seemed to escape without penalty for certain rotten behaviors, while others were walloped immediately for doing the same thing. "Familiarity" played --meaning, there was "freedom of behavior" justified only by the closest relationships among those brethren. I feel a sadness and loss for the brothers in IdentityTheft. They lost the camradery of their boyhood. They lost that sense of nurturing ambience that brotherhood has the ability to supply. Competition and sibling-rivalry can raise the bar too high, as it did in this case, advancing transgressions into the realm of criminal acts--one against the other. 
August 28, 2007, 1:26 pm CDT

Something needs to change

My husband is also a victim of identity theft by his brother.  His brother has used my husband's name in numerous criminal acts and not showing up for court.  My husband's profession requires that he has access to the prisons and he cannot get access because of the record he now has.  He has also been swarmed by police officers because of a warrant out on him.  Luckily we filed a report and have the card of the detective, but still an embarrasment and scare.  We have called the courts to try to find out what we can do to clear this matter up.  Obviously it seems like an easy fix.  Match up the fingerprints, right?  Not so.  One court clerk even suggested that my husband come to that state and "Do the time" for his brother.  It's amazing the intelligence of the people working in the courts.   I would think that there should be some liability of the police officers.  If you pull someone over with no I.D. I dont think it's fair that they put in the system and book these people as the identity given by the suspect.  In my opinion it's negligent and irresponsible.  If they don't have an I.D., HELLO, chances are they are going to lie to you about who they are. 
September 13, 2007, 12:50 pm CDT

identity theft

Hello Dr. Phil,

I was surprised to learn that you already did a show on identiy theft within the family, because I've been suffering the effects of this crime for years! (My own "loving" sister gave out my name for numerous traffic violations that she received in the past.)  Whenever I bring up the subject of the lasting negative effects it has had on me she gets hostile and refuses to take any responsibility for her own bad actions.  Recently, she decided to "get even" with me for bringing up this subject once again and concocked a vindictive story concerning me which she then told to all of her business associates, aquintences, and certain of our extended family members! I am getting sick and tired of her abusive behavior and slanderous attacks on my character, so I have decided that I don't need to associate with her anymore!  Problem is she's turning 50 this year and my extended family expects me to throw her a birthday party!  They know nothing of the "real truth" behind all of this but I don't want them to see me as a gossip, like her, or an ogre for not giving her a party! How do I put a stop to her abuse of my character? Pls help

March 5, 2008, 4:46 pm CST

Protect the Young from ID Theft

The US government needs to take note that the battle against Identity Theft needs to start with them.  When a child is issued a SS# there should be a Flag marking that name till age 18.  After all a person is not legally responsible for debts till that age.  If this simple step were taken, the ID theft of children would decrease, because there would be a flag that a 10 year old wants to buy a house, or a 3 year old wants a college loan.  This should then alert those who are ready to give credit that something is not right and they need to at least look harder before lending.  Then, when they act stupidly, they have no one but themselves to blame when there's nobody to repay them.


Also the creditors have no consequences for handing out gobs of credit based on nothing but an absence of bad reports, rather than at least some past reports of responsible actions.  These creditors just jack up the price for everyone else who is following the rules.


This whole subject is something that makes me nervous every time I have to give personal information that is requested on any new account or transaction you make.

April 4, 2008, 9:15 am CDT


For those of us who are left with the troublesome tasks of cleaning up our credit history after becoming a victim of identity theft, you may benefit from reading one of my favorite books regarding credit reporting and credit scores:



The Road To 850:  Strategies For Increasing Your Credit Scores by Al Bingham


Receive a free copy of your credit report:


Receive an accurate copy of your credit score for a fee (or ask your lender):



A common problem among the general public is the misunderstanding and misinformation about the free credit reports.  In 2003 Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act (known as the FACT Act) which allows everyone the right to one free annual credit report from each credit bureau.  Everyone should utilize this opportunity to review the information from each of the three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. 


Hope it helps!


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