Identity Theft: Movie Stars, Other Celebrities Are Victims Too
The much-anticipated movie "Identity Thief" is set to hit the big screen. The comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy follows the antics of an identity thief (played by McCarthy), Time reports.
But this won't mark the first time that identity theft has hit Hollywood. In fact, identity theft -- the crime, not the movie -- has been a phenomenon among the star set for some time. Over the years, many celebrities have been hit by identity thieves.
Here are five notorious cases of identity theft among the stars:
- Will Smith. There are many people with the name "Will Smith." So at first glance, you would think that any confusion with identity might just be a small misunderstanding. But there are very few "Willard C. Smiths" out there, and one of them just happens to be a box-office superstar. The other one is in jail. Well, that's because the second one wasn't really Will Smith. He was actually Carlos Lomax, as the Associated Press reported in 2009.
- Steve Smith. Seems like Carlos Lomax likes the name "Smith." The same identity thief also hit up ex-Atlanta Hawks basketball player Steve Smith. He ran up $81,000 using the baller's name.
- Tiger Woods. An identity thief was able to get a driver's license using the name "Eldrick T. Woods." From there, he got credit cards and bought himself presents totaling $17,000 -- which of course, teed off the real Eldrick T. Woods, aka Tiger. The fake Tiger Woods received a staggering sentence of 200 years to life, under California's "three strikes" rule, according to the Sacramento Bee.
- Ricky Gervais. The star from the original UK version of "The Office" had his recognizable voice come to the rescue. Identity thieves were thwarted when a gold dealer, who was incidentally a fan, failed to recognize Gervais' distinctive voice on a phone call, Business Pundit reports.
- Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and Steven Spielberg. The same man went after all the big names. When apprehended, he was actually found with a marked-up copy of Forbes magazine's rich list, where he had filled in the names and social security numbers of his intended targets. He used this information to convince banks to authorize transactions in the wealthy victims' names.
- Hacked Off: Palin Testifies in Email Hacking Trial (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- The Findlaw Guide to Online Fraud and Identity Theft (FindLaw - Free Download)
- Steps You Should Take in Preventing Identity Theft (FindLaw)