Most identity theft victims struggle to sort out the bills their impostors run up. Illegally obtained credit card accounts, cell phone bills, home mortgages, retirement benefits and even medical care can ensnare identity theft victims. But Linda Norris’ identity theft woes—though not unique--are more humiliating and infuriating than those.
Norris was arrested July 7 on charges of violating the terms of probation stemming from her 2004 prostitution arrest. Which is all well and good, except Norris isn’t a prostitute and was never arrest as one—until this month.
The woman Florida Highway Patrol troopers thought they were arresting was Colleen Wehunt, a woman who’s been using Norris identity since 1993. That’s when the women rented rooms in the same house, but they didn’t know each other and weren’t friends, Norris said.
That’s also the same year Wehunt was arrested for theft, and gave Norris’ information to the cops for the first—but not the last--time.
As awful as Norris’ story is, it’s not uncommon among ID theft victims, according to those who participated in the 2008 Aftermath Survey conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center:
- 56% said a warrant had been issued in their names for crimes committed by their impostors
- 56% said their impostors were arrested, booked or arraigned using their victims’ names
- 33% said their impostors were prosecuted using their names, resulting in their having criminal records.
Norris spent five hours in jail before her identity was confirmed, and knows she might face the same ordeal again some day.
“It’s very embarrassing—very embarrassing. I want it to stop,” she said.