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An identity thief stole $5,000 from me. I spent two years tracking down how.

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Boston Globe, May 2024

It was June of 2022, a few days after my daughter’s wedding, and I was still feeling giddy from the celebration. But it was time to finish paying for it, so I logged into my bank account to check my balance before settling up with the florist, caterer, and other vendors. A quick glance at recent transactions jolted me out of my sunny mood. Sandwiched between the payment I’d transferred to my dog walker and the 29 cents I’d earned in interest was a very bad and incomprehensible number. Three days after the wedding, $5,000 in cash had been withdrawn from my checking account — but not by me. And not near me, either. I live in Greater Boston, and the money was withdrawn 200 miles away, at a Bank of America branch in Saratoga Springs, New York. Apparently, a teller had handed over a stack of bills to someone impersonating me. In experts’ lingo, I’d entered the “identity crime ecosystem,” a mix of theft and fraud. No one wants to be in that ecosystem.

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