Identity Thief Blunders

Darwin Awards: identity thief thinks she looks more like victim than victim does

Identity Thief Bloopers

When a waitress says, “Hi, I’m Brianna and I’ll be taking care of you today,” you don’t expect the customer to be thinking, “What a coincidence, my fake name is Brianna.” And you certainly don’t expect said customer to be so bold, or idiotic, as to buy a drink using a fake ID belonging to the very same Brianna she’d stolen it from a week before.

As they say at Applebee’s, welcome to the neighborhood – at least the identity theft neighborhood.

According to a recent 9News story, Brianna Priddy, an Applebee’s waitress in Lakewood, CO was out with friends when her wallet was stolen. Enter the crime-challenged suspect who stole Priddy’s wallet containing cash, credit cards and her driver’s license. The suspect then used the license to cash hundreds of dollars of fraudulent checks, creating a financial and administrative nightmare for Priddy.

But the America’s Most Wanted Gods were smiling on Priddy when the suspect showed up at the Applebee’s where Priddy worked to buy drinks…with her new fake ID. This is like robbing a bank and then returning to scene of the crime to get change for the $100 bills you just stole. The technique is not likely to land you in the Crime Achievers Hall of Fame but more likely to land you in a different hall with steel bars.

Luckily, Priddy was quick thinking when the identity thief presented her with her own ID. She promptly called the police who immediately arrested the identity thief… making it once again a beautiful day in the Applebee’s neighborhood.

The ultimate irony? The suspect was 26 years old and could have bought drinks using her own ID, proving once again that crime doesn’t pay. And if it did, these criminals are not using the funds for higher education.

So what have we learned about how not to become a victim of identity theft?

  • First, be careful with your passport, license, or other forms of identification. In the wrong hands, these documents can drain your bank account, damage your credit, or make you look bad if used by someone uglier than you.
  • Second, report the loss of your ID immediately to the police so your bases are covered when someone commits crimes in your name.
  • Third, set up alerts on your credit cards and bank accounts so that you know when someone else is spending your money. This can also come in handy if your spouse tends to be a spender.

Lastly, if you are an identity thief, avoid Applebees. For extra credit, keep good records on whom you steal ID’s from. And then cross check those records and the photo on the ID when presenting it as your own. It’s just less awkward that way.

John Sileo is the CEO of the information economy think tank, The Sileo Group. He often shares humorous stories in his keynote presentations to help his audience emotionally connect to protecting the data that defines them. His clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security and Pfizer.