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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Victim’s Name is Used in Jail in Bizarre Identity Theft Case

Hello, my name is...

Identity Theft is always a scary incident, as the financial repercussions of having your personal identification information compromised can be long-lasting and hurt your credit for years, possibly even forever. However, in a few rare cases, the theft can take a bizarre twist and be much more than just a case of forgery or petty fraud.

This is what happened to Florida native Brittany Ossenfort back in 2007, when her once idyllic living situation turned into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. When she was looking for a roommate that would be a low-maintenance, easy fit for her lifestyle, a mutual friend introduced her to Michelle. Brittany and Michelle bonded immediately and shared the apartment for over a year with relatively few issues.

There were several red flags that something was up, however, as Michelle seemed to want to emulate Brittany in many different ways. It began subtly enough at first when Michelle began styling her hair in the same fashion as Brittany’s, but got weirder when, without asking, Michelle got an identical tattoo on her wrist to one Brittany had been sporting for years.

The smoking gun came when Brittany was contacted by officers at her work asking her to bail another individual with the same name out of jail. Confused, she went to the station to investigate and found that Michelle had stolen her identity and was being held on prostitution charges. Michelle had told authorities that her name was Brittany Ossenfort. When the fingerprint results came back, Michelle, a transgendered woman, was identified as Richard Phillips.

To make matters worse, once a person’s information is entered into the system, officials are not authorized to change the name. Although it is an extreme case, it certainly increases awareness about the dangers of identity theft.