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Livin’ it Up: Young Philly Couple Charged With Identity Theft

This article was written by in Privacy and Security. 16 comments.


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.

Kirsch and Anderton

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.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar henry

They were brought up in somewhat of a privileged life and once they struck out on their own, they realized that privilege can have a hefty price tag. Probably couldn’t let go of the good life.

Either way, given what the cops found in their apartment, it looks like they got some explaining to do.

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avatar The Saving Freak

Some people think they can get away with anything and this is why they get caught. The truth is most millionaires play everything as straight and narrow as humanly possible and they get ahead by forming good relationships. Not, by scamming people.

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avatar Anca

I came across another financial crimes story today, in which an elderly woman was taken advantage of:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004047709_frances02m.html

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avatar Mrs. Micah

Somehow I can’t imagine that being a fun life. Then again, I have a conscience…

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avatar Kira

“Private school upbringing and supportive parents”? Why does everyone take this to mean they were raised with good morals? Private school means priveleged and supportive means pushovers. Henry is right, they grew up like that, stuck it on their own and then realized you actually had to work for it. My opinion is people who grow up priveleged are MORE likely to do this stuff, not less. How do you explain Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie?

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avatar mapgirl

Excuse me. I had a private school upbringing (on financial aid) and very supportive parents. That does not instantly mean you should group all private school students with people who cheat, defraud and lie. I recently went to an alumni function and the number of people who work in public service and non-profit industries was well represented.

They are two very stupid adults, but they aren’t stereotypical of people who go to private school, OK? Chip and Buffy still play squash at the club, etc. But thieving still remains outside the norm.

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avatar henry

@ Mapgirl

I know people who went to private school too, and you’re quite right, they are fine people. We’re not indicting all private schoolers, we’re just talking about these two kids.

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avatar vh

I dunno. Maybe they’re only “stupid” because they got caught. How many brighter crooks are out there who don’t get caught?

You have to be excruciatingly dumb to get caught at some of these scams. I have acquaintances–some of them, alas, veterans of private schooling and some just middle-class young people who have no intention of working to continue living in the style to which–who have gotten away with insurance fraud (repeatedly!), fraud of parents and other family members, theft, drug use, attempted murder, and I’m sure many things we don’t know about. Some of their scams have been mighty heavy-handed (like burning down the house with the wife and an unwanted baby in it) and nothing was done about them.

Did you know that if you take your car to a busy mall parking lot and leave the keys in it and it gets stolen, you can claim you “accidentally” left the garage door open and it was stolen from there, and presto-changeo, you get a nice new car? And, oddly enough, the insurance company doesn’t do much to investigate.

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