Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward K. Anderton live in Philadelphia but they’ve been spending their time in Paris, London, Hawaii, and Seattle thanks to their neighbors. The neighbors aren’t quite as happy, however. The two were using their expensive apartment to assist in stealing the identities of the other people living in their building as well as other individuals.
Police started investigating Nov. 19 after one of the couple’s neighbors reported that she thought her identity had been stolen. A day later, the woman heard from a local UPS store about a waiting package, although she had not ordered anything.
Police kept an eye on the store and arrested Anderton and Kirsch on Friday when they walked in to pick up the package, detectives said.
A weekend search of the couple’s $3,000-a-month apartment turned up a cache of tech toys: four computers, two printers, a scanner and an industrial machine that makes ID cards. Police also found $17,500 in cash, dozens of credit cards and fake drivers’ licenses, and keys to unlock many of the apartments and mailboxes in their upscale Rittenhouse Square apartment building. Police are not yet sure how they got the keys. The search also turned up a book titled, “The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims,” as well as a newspaper article on “How to Spot Fake IDs.”
How did they think they would get away with this scheme for long? The article mentions private-school upbringing and supportive parents. Something went wrong. Why are otherwise intelligent people capable of doing something so amazingly stupid?
For more information on identity theft, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Site. It is a comprehensive guide about the issue of identity theft, including tips for prevention and handling the theft after the fact. While I believe the dangers of identity theft are a bit overplayed in the media, it is an important issue and even the most cautious individual can still be susceptible to identity theft.
Image credit: AP Photo/Philadelphia Police Department, HO
Updated April 9, 2008 and originally published December 5, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.