Identity theft – whom to blame?

To the Editor:

The IRS is paying out millions of dollars in refunds to “identity thieves” by duplicate filings of income tax returns. Who is to blame for the largest crime in the USA?

In a lot of cases it is our government and community leaders. Yes, it is true that many government and community leaders attempt to blame us, the regular citizens! They give us hints on what to do and not to do with our social security numbers and other personal information. However, take a look at what we, the regular citizen, must face on a daily basis.

Go to the Minnesota State Fair and attempt to rent an electric scooter to get around because you are disabled, elderly, etc. The rental fee is $50 plus you must deposit (leave) your driver’s license or state ID with the vendor you are renting it from. (If you have neither, you must leave a credit card.)

You will then get it back when you return the scooter to them. However, during the hours that the vendor and its employees have your license, ID or credit card, they can easily obtain all the information they need for identity theft!

There are hand-held electronic readers available today, so it is not hard for these thieves to obtain information on many cards, etc. They need not use the information this year as it will be the same for a long time in the future.

You want to obtain cable or a similar product for your TV… If you select Direct TV they will only allow you to sign up by telephone. You will need to give them all of your personal information, including your social security number and a credit card number. You will be required to sign a two-year agreement; however, they will not mail you the agreement to review, etc. until you sign up for one or more of their packages.

Once again, you are talking over the telephone and must give them more than adequate information to perform identity theft. What does your SS or credit card number have to do with cable?

Now the government wants every voter to have and show a picture ID before voting.

Why? As far as most of us know there has not been any big crime increase in people voting and/or similar. It certainly appears to me that there are political persons who want to make it more difficult or impossible for many to vote? This could be a big problem for disabled and elderly people, etc., and another identity theft chance!

Where are our consumer protection laws to help prevent identity theft?

God bless Houston County,


Larry Salm

Caledonia, MN