Identity theft has become a common occurrence. For most people, it simply starts and ends with a credit card or debit card being stolen and fraudulent charges showing up. Most banks or lending institutions disregard the charges, and all is well. There are many cases of identity theft that take a significantly larger amount of time to fix, but again most people find themselves free of any long-term consequences once they have sorted through the complex issues. However, for some people, identity theft becomes a decades-long battle, which is what happened to Wesley Taylor, according to USA Today.
Taylor, a resident of Indianapolis, had his wallet stolen in 2006. Instead of simply using his credit cards and debit cards, the thief used Taylor’s identity to commit several misdemeanor crimes. This in turn has turned Taylor’s life upside down. A typically solid citizen, he now has several crimes associated with his social security number and driver’s license. This has led to his driver’s license to be suspended, an inability to secure certain jobs due to background checks, and a denial an application for a gun permit. He is being punished for having a criminal background even though he did not commit any of the crimes, and has even proved so to law enforcement officials.
Taylor’s situation is an example of worst-case scenarios when it comes to identity theft. Although it is something that could happen to anyone, he believes that the city of Indianapolis has not done enough to help him to clear his name, so he is suing them in federal court. The basis of his allegations is that while the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Marion County court staff could have simply removed his name from the misdemeanor crimes perpetrated by another person, the criminal record remains in Taylor’s name.
Still Dealing With the Consequences
It took a few years for Taylor to recognize the full extend of the identity theft, including all the different crimes occurred in his name by the thief. Once he knew what was happening, he alerted the authorities and filed the paperwork to clear his name. He thought that the nightmare was over, but then he found out that he had to live with the consequences of another man’s crimes. The crimes remain on his record, even though the actual perpetrator was found.
This situation may seem unique, but in reality it could happen to anyone. In the case of criminal identity theft, it is typically fixable within the first six months, but years typically pass before someone realizes the problem. This makes it more difficult to clear one’s name. Other people have tried to sue the government in similar situations to try to get the government agencies to do more to help victims of identity theft.
This is another reason why it is so important to protect yourself from identity theft. Not only can people wreck havoc on your finances and credit report, but they can also commit crimes in your name, leading to you having to deal with the consequence of having a criminal record for crimes you didn’t commit.