One of the funnier things happened today that I got to witness. I went on a walk with a co-worker, and we– being girls, stopped by the bathroom in tandem before going outside. After leaving the restroom she looked at her phone, got a puzzled look on her face and said,
“Someone named Genevieve is asking me, ‘How is your day going my love?'”
“You don’t know Genevieve? Reminds me of Rush Hour 3.” I replied (Yes, I’m random)
At which point as we were walking out the door we both had the same idea at the same time… How was someone she didn’t know in her caller ID so that when they texted her their name would appear??
“Oh-my-god, is this my phone?!”
NOPE– She and another woman had accidentally switched phones off the little shelf in the bathroom. We went back in, her phone was gone, she left the misbegotten phone on the shelf, when we got back from break she checked and her phone was back on the shelf for the nameless exchange. Problem solved.
So, I’m making that the Friday Funny; accidental swaps and mistaken identity.
Very recently families in Russia were awarded $100K each for their children switched at birth.
The families, who live in Kopeisk, an industrial town of 140,000 people in Russia’s Ural Mountains, only learned about the mistake several months ago, reports the Associated Press in Moscow. The misfortune came to light after one of the couples involved filed for divorce. The husband in the split reportedly refused to support his daughter Irina⎯who has dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin⎯because she did not look like him or his blond wife Yuliya Belyaeva.
Apparently the Russian hospital system is over-taxed (which isn’t surprising) and this happened previously in 2009.
In Russia last week [March 2009], two mothers were ordered by the courts to exchange the two-year-old boys whom they had each raised from birth but who did not belong to them. A nurse — the only one on duty in the main hospital of the city Mtsensk on a night when there were 20 newborns needing care — had mixed up the children in the nursery, sending each baby home with the wrong mother. The mistake was discovered recently when one of the mothers was going through some baby memorabilia and noticed, for the first time, that another woman’s name was on her son’s maternity ward identification tag.
Confrontations, tears and DNA tests followed, and now the boys are back with their biological families.
Two women switched at birth have met for the first time 56 years after the hospital blunder was finally exposed.
Kay Rene Reed Qualls and DeeAnn Angell Shafer were born at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, eastern Oregon, in 1953.
They grew up happily, got married, had children and became grandparents.
But last summer their lives were turned upside down when they found out that they were switched at birth.
They recently met for the first time and underwent DNA tests after a woman who knew both their mothers called Ms Qualls’ brother, Bobby Reed, with her suspicion.
Snopes.com has an interesting ‘truth’ story about twins where one twin was switched out with another child…
In June 1971, Laura Cain gave birth at Ottawa’s Grace Hospital to identical twin boys, whom she named George and Marcus. Because she was unable to care for the two newborns on her own, she placed them with that area’s Children’s Aid Society (CAS), which in turn placed the two infants into a foster home. After marrying the twins’ father, Randy Holmes, in August 1971, Laura and her new husband asked for the return of their boys.
Two boys were turned over to them, George and another youngster. Laura and Randy assumed the other boy was Marcus and raised him as their son.
The real Marcus (who had been renamed Brent) was adopted and raised by Jim and Carroll Tremblay of Orleans, a nearby community.
The mix-up was discovered when George and Brent met in the fall of 1992 at Carleton University in Ottawa, where both of them were students. The two young men were brought together by a classmate who spotted Brent and suggested that he be introduced to George, a friend who looked just like him. The twins (who did not then know they were brothers) became friends, with Brent coming to be a sometimes visitor in the apartment shared by Marcus and George.
Eventually the two look-alikes thought it would be a neat idea to meet each other’s parents. Once each set of parents was introduced to the young man who looked like their son, they started asking questions about the other boy’s history, discovered each lad had been an infant in CAS foster care at the same time as their own, and began to ponder the unthinkable. They arranged for DNA testing, which confirmed that Brent and George were the actual twins, and Marcus was biologically unrelated to the boy he’d been raised with as a twin brother.
As to how the children came to be jumbled, they found that another baby boy was already resident in the foster home where the twins were placed in June 1971. In August of that year, the two boys thought to be the twins were moved to a second foster home. In September 1971, when Laura and Randy asked for their children back, they were given these two infants. The third child, actually the other twin, was also moved to a second foster home prior to being adopted by the Tremblays.
According to Laura Cain, the boys she had thought were her twin sons were noticeably different from each other at an early age. They had separate friends and separate interests, but George and Marcus always got along and always depended on each other. When the time came to leave home, they moved into a place together.
Wikipedia.com has many other examples including some of the above mentioned stories and list-off what most hospitals do to prevent these type of situations:
Some hospitals take fingerprints, foot prints, or palm prints of newborns in order to prevent babies being mixed up. Nurses also double-check with the mother, checking the identity of that person as well, in order to prevent errors. Many hospitals also have policies in which a medical record number is assigned to an infant at birth, and bands with this number as well as the last name of the mother of the infant, the sex of the infant, and the date and time of birth are placed on the infant and the mother immediately after parturition before the mother and child are separated. A band may also be placed on the father (or other person chosen by the mother) at the time of birth, to ensure he does not go home with the wrong woman.
But, what about mistaken identity of a different kind? USAToday reports back in 2006 on a shocking discovery by a family that was already dealing with a horrific trauma…
Laura, it turns out, is dead.
The young woman in the hospital bed, who suffered head injuries in an April 26 highway accident that killed five people, is Whitney Cerak.
Whitney’s family thought they buried her weeks ago.
“Their body types are similar, their hair color and texture, their facial features, etc.,” the family said.
The Grant County, Ind., coroner said that the accident scene had been strewn with purses, and that students had identified the survivor as VanRyn. No scientific testing was conducted to verify the identities.
Mowery said VanRyn’s boyfriend initially questioned her identity based on the young woman’s behaviors and comments. Then VanRyn’s father became suspicious when she referred to him by a pet name he didn’t recognize.
However, in the past couple of days, as their patient became more aware of her surroundings, she had been “saying and doing some things that made us question whether or not she was Laura,” the family said.
Bruce Rossman, a hospital spokesman, said that when staff asked her name, she was able to write, “Whitney Cerak.” On Tuesday, the VanRyns began the process of making a positive identification.
About.com has a good article on what to look into if you’re flagged for the TSA No Fly List because your name is like that of a known terrorist. They also have suggestions if you’ve been tagged and you don’t know why.
The NY Times reports in 2010 about an 8 year-old who was on one of the watch lists…
Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled.
The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried.
After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this year’s vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home.
“Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch — someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal,” Mrs. Hicks recounted. “A terrorist can blow his underwear up and they don’t catch him. But my 8-year-old can’t walk through security without being frisked.”
It is true that Mikey is not on the federal government’s “no-fly” list, which includes about 2,500 people, less than 10 percent of them from the United States. But his name appears to be among some 13,500 on the larger “selectee” list, which sets off a high level of security screening.
For every person on the lists, hundreds of others may get caught up simply because they share the same name; a quick scan through a national phone directory unearthed 1,600 Michael Hickses. Over the past three years, 81,793 frustrated travelers have formally asked that they be struck from the watch list through the Department of Homeland Security; more than 25,000 of their cases are still pending. Others have taken more drastic measures.
Mario Labbé, a frequent-flying Canadian record-company executive, started having problems at airports shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, with lengthy delays at checkpoints and mysterious questions about Japan. By 2005, he stopped flying to the United States from Canada, instead meeting American clients in France. Then a forced rerouting to Miami in 2008 led to six hours of questions.
“What’s the name of your mother? Your father? When were you last in Japan?” Mr. Labbé recalled being asked. “Always the same questions in different order. And sometimes, it’s quite aggressive, not funny at all.”
Fed up, in the summer of 2008, he changed his name to François Mario Labbé. The problem vanished.
Several Web sites, including the T.S.A.’s own blog, are rife with tales of misidentification and strategies for solving them. Some travelers purposely misspell their own names when buying tickets, apparently enough to fool the system. Even the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy once found himself on a list.
How about Identity Theft?
It’s like you’re having an out-of-body experience so that counts right?
My husband, just before he became my husband, became the victim of Identity Theft. We paid for most of our wedding stuff and were on a tight budget. My husband had made a purchase at the now-gone Meier & Frank department store to buy some groomsmen gifts. To save that precious 10% he opened the credit card account for the purchase. We got married in November, and just after Christmas my new husband mused, “Wonder when I’m going to see that Meier & Frank credit card statement?”
The next week he received a call from the billing center of Meier & Frank inquiring when he planned on making the payment for his several thousand dollar bill.
Basically, shortly after opening the account with M & F, someone who was now living in my husband’s old apartment, and probably had received junk mail or something not forwarded to our new apartment, had gone into the store claiming to be my husband and that he’d ‘lost his card’ and could he get a new one re-issued.
Once the bad guy had sweet talked his way into that information he was able to get more personal information from M & F, then the fun really started. This shit-eating individual went around to other department stores, home improvement stores, and cell phone companies opening up accounts on my husband’s credit.
All together the person managed to rack up $8K in bills on my husband’s credit. At that time, it was ridiculous to resolve; we had to file statements with various police stations for each precinct that the claim occurred. Even though we knew the bastard was sitting in the very apartment he used to occupy, we couldn’t file the claim with that police department, we had to go to the police where each store had the false purchases. We never heard what happened or if he was caught.
The other part of the story that sticks in my craw and makes me cheer at the company’s demise is when we first learned of the I.D. theft we visited the M & F at Washington Square, Portland Oregon and spoke to the VP of that store. He assured us that there was NO WAY that an individual could have accessed personal information from one of the Customer Service Kiosks and it must have been something that we’d left at the old apartment. The only problem with that is the M & F account was opened after my soon-t0-be-husband had moved, so nothing from M & F regarding the new account would have gone to the old apartment. Still, we left perplexed. Then a few weeks after that we got a call from the M & F fraud department and they confirmed how the loss had occurred… the very way the VP of the Washington Square branch claimed it could not have, via someone providing the individual personal information. She could even tell that he had asked repeatedly and that it was the 3rd individual who caved into the story– presumably by the third time he knew what questions to ask/answer, but still, the information had been leaked and by a person in the store, though it turned out to have been at the Clackamas, OR branch.
The clean-up of my husband’s credit took many personal hours to track down and months to resolve due to having to file claims of fraud with individual police departments and individual stores, then following back up that those stores waived the fees and late charges off of our 3 credit reports. Over 6 months later when we went to buy a car we still had a demerit on our credit affecting the rate of interest available on our loan because Sears had waived the charges of the false purchases, but had NOT erased the late-fees associated with those false purchases and they were hanging there like dead-weight bringing down our credit rating.
Now, I’m not endorsing those agencies like Free Credit Reporting or any of that other hullabaloo, but you do need to keep an eye on your statements and note any creepy activity and jump on it right away. In this day– 9 years later, many banks and credit card companies are alerted if you make purchases in areas or in amounts not typical to your spending habits; which is great until you forget to tell them about that vacation you’re taking to Las Vegas or Mexico and suddenly your card freezes. But, that still doesn’t stop the vagrant asshole who opens up new accounts in your name at that first time purchase, which is how this guy got away with the $8K of purchases. He wasn’t stopped until the # of hits and recent account openings on my husband’s credit line caused his latest fraudulent purchase at a cell-phone store to be denied.
We now keep the ID theft coverage on our homeowner’s insurance policy, and since I work for an insurance company I would encourage everyone to do that, because the effort and energy it takes is expensive and time-consuming.
Christopher Chaney, 35, has admitted to hacking into the email accounts of A-list celebrities including Kunis and Johansson, describing it as a fascination with celebrities turned into an addiction that snowballed out of control.
“It started as curiosity and it turned into just being addicted to seeing behind-the-scenes of what was going on with these people you see on the big screen every day,” Chaney told CBS News’ Jacksonville affiliate WTEV in an exclusive interview. “I was almost relieved months ago when they came and took the computer and told me what was going on because I didn’t know how to stop doing it myself.”
Chaney was arrested and charged earlier this month with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access and unauthorized damage to a protected computer. His arrest came after a year-long FBI investigation named “Operation Hackerazzi.”
Chaney allegedly hacked into Yahoo, Apple and Google email addresses of at least 50 celebrities, obtaining personal information and photos that he leaked to other Internet sites.
ITAC is the Identity Theft Assistance Center and they have research on the subject…
Overall identity fraud incidents decreased in the United States in 2010—The number of identity fraud incidents decreased by 28 percent over the past year, which brought them down to levels not seen since 2007. The mean fraud amount per victim declined from $4,991 in 2009 to $4,607. One likely contributing factor was the significant drop in reported data breaches according to industry reports: 404 in 2010 with 26 million records exposed, compared to 604 in 2009 with 221 million records exposed.
Consumer fraud costs increased in 2010—While fraud incidents decreased, the mean consumer out-of-pocket cost due to identity fraud increased 63 percent from $387 in 2009 to $631 per incident in 2010. This may be attributable to changes in the types of fraud perpetrated in 2010, including new account and debit card fraud, highlighting the need for continued consumer vigilance. Consumer fraud costs include costs incurred by the victim towards payoff of any fraudulent debt as well as fees (legal or otherwise) to resolve fraudulent claims.
New account fraud was most damaging—Although all types of fraud declined over the past year, new account fraud was responsible for the greatest fraud amount ($17 billion). New account fraud, in which accounts have been opened without the victim’s knowledge, is harder to detect and is the most likely to severely impact the victims. Existing card fraud amounts declined by 38 percent to $14 billion from $23 billion in 2009.
“Friendly fraud” is on the rise—Friendly fraud – fraud perpetrated by people known to the victim, such as a relative or roommate – grew seven percent last year, with consumers between the ages of 25-34 most likely to be victims of this type of fraud. People in this age group are most likely to have their Social Security number (SSN) stolen—with 41 percent of fraud victims in this group reporting theft of their SSN.
Fraud inversely mirrors retail sales—The Javelin study found an interesting correlation between retail sales and fraud incidence, with the amount of fraud almost perfectly inversely mirroring retail sales over the past seven years. When retail sales have increased, fraud has decreased, which points to economic hardships as an overall contributor to fraudsters committing identity crimes.
Nearly Two out of three ID theft victims do not know source of crime, according to Identity theft assistance center survey A survey of more than 1,500 identity theft victims shows that approximately three out of four, or 72%, do not know the source of the crime, according to ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center.
Of the 1,530 victims helped by ITAC, twenty-eight percent said they knew the source of the crime.
Followed by computer-related identity crime (21.6%).
Lost/stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card accounts for 15.1%
Corrupt businesses or employees also at (11.6%)
And breaches of consumer data accounted for 4.7% of the cases
Here is an INFOgraphic I found; data circa 2009-ish.
Keep this in mind as you go into the the biggest spending-season of the year.