I was the victim of an identity theft nightmare - and it could happen to you. AMA
My name is Jessica Roy, and I'm an editor on the utility journalism team at the L.A. Times. In 2018, my wallet was stolen out of my purse at a bar. A few weeks later, I found out I was the victim of a ring of persistent serial identity thieves -- and that the banks, credit bureaus, and police weren't going to do anything to help me.
I write a personal finance newsletter for the L.A. Times. I use free credit monitoring. I have unique passwords and two-factor authentication on all my financial accounts. The only personally identifying piece of info in my wallet was my driver's license. I never would have thought that this could happen to me.
What I learned, first as a victim and then as a reporter writing about it, was that identity theft happens to millions of people every year and very little is being done to prevent it from happening. Every victim, like me, is on the hook to clean up after the thieves that stole our identities and the institutions that let them do it.
I wrote a front-page story about what happened when my financial identity was taken from me and how I fought back. I also wrote about how to minimize the chances of it happening to you and what to do if your identity is compromised. Finally, I proposed a series of solutions that would make it tougher for identity thieves to pull off this crime in the first place.