For most of us, the concept of stealing another person’s identity is totally incomprehensible. First of all, it’s against the law; second, it’s completely immoral and third, well…I don’t know, your mother probably told you not to do it. But regardless of what your mother did or did not tell you, perpetrating identity theft is not something most people go around seriously considering.

But say you were, hypothetically, going to steal someone else’s identity. It would probably be a stranger’s, right? Well, not for one Virginia man. According to, the Norfolk native used the identity of another individual with the same first and last name to enlist in the army and obtain medical and other benefits. The article noted that the fraudster used the man’s identity to obtain Social Security benefits from 1997 to 2010.

Apparently the men were both born in 1956, were neighbors and went to school together.
The fraudster was sentenced to over six years in prison and was ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution. (Perhaps I just like to see the best in people, but I’m imagining an elaborate drama where the man with the stolen identity begs his lifelong pal to take his identity to feed his starving family. Hey, I can dream, right?)

Whether they were best friends or mortal enemies, stealing someone’s identity is illegal, and steps need to be taken to help prevent it from happening. So, here’s the question for the day: what is your jurisdiction doing to help prevent identity fraud?

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