Celebrities live the high life; enjoying parties, famous friends, more money than they can handle, so we all look at celebrities like they are a different breed of people. However, celebrities are just like you and I. They buy groceries, take their kids to school and do normal, everyday things. They are also subject to criminal activity, same as us everyday folks! Identity theft is a rampant form of criminal activity that no one is safe from, even celebrities. Many famous people have lost their identity to a hacker, which turned their life upside down. Below are a few examples of celebrities who have lost their identity in the past.
Will Smith is a famous actor/rapper who first rose to fame in the late 1980s early 1990s with his rap career which was soon followed by the popular television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After a successful television show, Smith moved on to star in countless movies, including the ever popular Men in Black series. At one time, an identity thief posed as the superstar and opened up no less than fourteen credit card accounts. Carlos Lomax was able to able to use the cards for some time before he was caught. Lomax was sentenced to prison and had to pay over $60,000 in restitution for the purchases made on the bogus credit cards.
Arguably the best basketball player to play the game, Michael Jordan is also a victim of identity theft. Ishman Walker is the culprit in this case. Walker was able to acquire Jordan’s bank account information and hurt the pro’s identity. Walker tried to find someone to act with him and help him impersonate Jordan or his wife Juanita and it was at this time that he was arrested for identity theft.
|Robert De Niro
Another famous celebrity to have their identity stolen is Robert De Niro. This is one that is hard to understand because it seems as though no one would want to mess with De Niro! In this case, it was someone closely involved with the celebrity. De Niro’s housekeeper pled guilty to stealing from De Niro as well as her other celebrity clients by using stolen credit cards.
Paris Hilton is a ‘different’ type of celebrity whose case of identity theft is very well-known. Hilton is a well-known socialite that uses her parent’s fortune to do her own thing. Hilton has starred on several reality shows but is most likely known on-screen for her part in One Night In Paris, a sex tape that was released starring the socialite herself. Hilton’s identity was stolen just a few years ago when a teenager from Massachusetts hacked her phone and posted all of Hilton’s celebrity contacts online. This teen was quite busy hacking at the time, and also managed to hack into the database of LexisNexis and view over 300,000 consumer records.
Abraham Abdallah is probably the most successful identity thief today, if you ignore the fact that he was caught. Abdallah was able to gain access to over 200 celebrity’s information including Martha Stewart, Oprah and Steven Spielberg, just to name a few. Abdallah hacked bank accounts, had social security numbers and much more information that would give him access to many different Hollywood stars accounts. Thankfully, the criminal was caught in the early 2000s and pled guilty to 12 counts of mail and wiring fraud and admitted the act was a compulsion he had a very hard time resisting.
Celebrities may think that identity theft cannot happen to them, but that is not the case. Celebrities feel as though they look a certain way so that no criminal would be able to impersonate them, however, since online shopping and telephone access is so prevalent, criminals simply make a purchase without being seen. This makes celebrities a perfect target as they have so much money, they do not miss small amounts until it is too late!
We all, including celebrities, should keep an eye out for identity theft. Monitor your bank accounts, credit report and score, on a regular basis to make sure that your identity is secure!