There isn't a specific demographic for victims of identity theft. In fact, the crime can happen to almost anybody, whether they are a senior citizen who has worked hard for decades to build up a pristine credit score or a toddler who doesn't even know what a credit card is. In the new movie Identity Thief, Jason Bateman plays the character Sandy Bigelow Patterson, an accounts representative from Colorado who works hard and spends responsibly.
Despite his best efforts, Sandy has his identity stolen
However, he soon finds out that he isn't the only person using his name when a warrant is put out for his arrest after failing to show up to court for a crime he didn't commit that took place almost 2,000 miles away. As it turns out, an identity thief named Diana, played by Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy, has been taking Miami by storm, applying for credit cards in Sandy's name and maxing them out without ever paying the bill.
The theft causes major legal problems for Sandy
After numerous ignored court summons, the police are now after the real Sandy, as they think he is the delinquent spender behind all of the unpaid bills. Now, Sandy has two weeks to track down his identity thief and bring her to Colorado before he's forced to pay the price for her crimes.
Believe it or not, this isn't an outlandish scenario
As hilarious a premise as this movie presents, identity theft such as this is hardly uncommon, and victims like Sandy have to deal with the consequences every day. In the film, Sandy is looking to build a good life for his family when his efforts get interrupted by this theft. Similar stories happen in real life every day to average American families. Even Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has been a victim of identity theft.
To sum it up, no one is truly safe from having their identity stolen, but there are steps individuals can definitely take to make sure they are at least alerted to strange activity taking place in their name. A credit monitoring program is one resource that will do this for a customer, and a tool that would've probably been helpful for Sandy.