Chapter 4. The First Mind-Set: Eliminate the Source
Identity thieves target wallets, purses, laptops and carry-on luggage because they contain a high concentration of private information. The average purse contains 20 pieces of identity; the average smart phone or laptop, thousands.
Victim #9,437,988: Drop and Switch
Ashley wasn't a professional meeting planner, but due to layoffs, she had been forced to take on an additional role at her company: planning her industry association's largest event of the year. As a planner, Ashley had to travel. Between her laptop bag and purse, she carried a goldmine of identity while on the road, not all of it hers. In addition to her corporate-issued laptop and BlackBerry, she carried client files, her passport, driver's license, several credit cards, an insurance card, her Social Security card, and several pieces of vital information about her children.
Scheduled to fly to Orlando, Florida, one day before the conference began, Ashley arrived at the gate to discover that the last United Airlines flight to Florida had been cancelled. In a panic, she made her way to the customer service counter midway down the concourse. The long, winding line, at least 30 people deep, bottlenecked at the two exhausted agents on duty. When asked later by a policeman to describe the thief, she responded, in all seriousness, "I didn't see anything; it was like a teacher-less kindergarten room on Halloween." At the time, she had exactly 14 hours before her first preconference ...
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