Like Forrest and Jenny, peas and carrots, methamphetamine addicts and identity theft goes together. It was true when the U.S. Department of Justice released the 2007 intelligence bulletin from the National Drug Intelligence Center linking increasing identity theft to increasing meth use, and a recent case in Seattle indicates the link is still strong.
Kristofer Jensen used the stolen identities of more than 40 people to support his meth addiction between January 2007 and March 2008. His primary source for his victims’ personal information was their stolen mail.
Using that information he made fake ID cards bearing his victims’ names but his photo. He then used those IDs to withdraw more than $200,000 from their bank accounts. In March 2007 he hit one bank account 15 times. In August 2007 Jensen made a single $11,500 withdrawal from one account. Jensen netted another $14,000 from another victim’s account at First Tech Credit Union in Washington County Oregon.
Jim Dunn, a detective with the Thurston County Sheriff’s office in Washington estimated that 95% of the ID theft cases he worked were related to meth addiction. The addicts would steal mail and trade the personal information harvested from it for meth to feed their addictions, and cash to cover their basic living expenses.
Jensen received a 10-year prison sentence last Friday in the Seattle U.S. District Court.
Protecting your identity from mail theft is easy: use a locked U.S. Postal Service mailbox to send and receive your mail. If you have a hard time excepting the inconvenience of using a mailbox away from home, use a locking mailbox to receive mail, and send out your mail from a USPS drop box.