Hermit Mountain Man Issues Challenge To Identity Thieves
COLORADO – Standing on a lone mountain peak and surveying the surrounding landscape, hermit mountain man Jim “Bearskin” Backwoodsman issues a loud cry.
“You’ll never steal my identity again!” echoes out on the unpopulated area. Rabbits and squirrels run for cover at the sound of his bellowing voice. Deer speed off not understanding that Jim is issuing his monthly challenge to identity thieves. He screams out all of his Personal Identifiable Information (PII) for all to hear. But there is no one else. The woods are silent.
“Five years ago I was part of society,” he explains while chewing on some possum jerky.
“Then identity thieves stole my information. They opened bank accounts and credit cards in my name. They submitted fake tax returns posing as me. Never again, I vowed to myself! I challenge every fraudster, criminal, cybercriminal, The Anonymous, and The Illuminati to try to steal from me again!” He then takes a swig of sassafras tea before he stokes his campfire.
Jim took an interesting approach to the exposure. Rather than facing it by trying to clear his name and secure his identity, he said goodbye to his friends and family, sold all his possessions, and wandered off to live with nature as a hermit. Each month he calls out his PII to remember the theft and remind himself that he can never be hurt again by the crime.
“Jim’s response is rare and unhealthy,” comments victimologist Nancy Clemens. “He is taking things a bit far by leaving society altogether. Plus, it doesn’t mean that criminals aren’t still using his information. He just doesn’t know it because he lives in a log cabin off the grid.”
Jim has successfully survived in the wilderness for five years. He has built a cabin with nothing more than a hatchet. He has wrestled a bear and lived to tell about it; climbed higher than a mountain goat, and has traversed wild river rapids. And yet these things are not as scary to him as the identity theft he screams about once a month.
Don’t Be Like Jim
For those experiencing identity fraud (or know of someone who is) who do not want to live in the mountains, foraging for wild berries and mushrooms like Jim, consider these resources to get life back on track.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website provides identity theft response plans to keep you organized and on track. Steps can be personalized based on the exposure that has taken place. If you visit other government-based sites such as usa.gov, irs.gov, justice.gov (DOJ), and fbi.gov, they will all reference the FTC’s site.
The Identity Theft Resource Center offers victims support in several ways. They operate a call center for victim’s assistance, provide education & resources, and conduct research & surveys related to ID theft and fraud. Its mission is to “Empower and guide consumers, victims, business, and government to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise and crime.”
For the time being Jim is happy to be a wild mountain man. Perhaps when he comes back to society, he will use these resources to recover his identity.