5 Inaccurate Details from the “Identity Thief” Movie

The film is funny, but not so accurate about the crime it's based on

By on February 13th, 2013 10:41 GMT

Identity theft has become a serious issue these days, which is probably why someone has decided to make a movie about it. However, the recently released “Identity Thief” movie contains some inaccurate things.

IDentity Theft 911 – a company that provides identity theft and data risk management, resolution and education services – has published a list of 5 major plot points that are inaccurate.

Jurisdiction. In the movie, police say that the identity thief must “be standing right here” for them to be able to arrest him.

However, as Raul Vargas, an IDentity Theft 911 fraud operations manager, explains, “If the perpetrator is found, they are usually arrested in the area in which they live, and all local, state and federal documentation is sent to that court system. Keep in mind, jurisdiction is based upon the area in which the crime occurred, not the area in which the victim lives.”

Statistics
. In the movie, police say that identity thieves are caught in 5 to 10% of cases. However, in reality, less than 1 in 1,000 crooks are prosecuted. In addition, identity theft is far more common than the film shows.

Logistics. While the cross-country chase might appear amusing, in reality, identity theft “is an extremely complicated disaster,” according to Identity Theft 911. That’s because the crimes are occurring online and across national borders.

Criminals’ sophistication. In the film, the identity thief holds on to the victim’s identity for a long period of time. In real life, retail fraud is not so popular as online shopping and banking fraud, where the crooks hijack their victims’ information without leaving their laptop.

In cases of retail fraud, the hijacked cards are used and discarded.

Motivation. Melissa McCarthy’s character appears to be driven by other things besides financial gain. In reality, identity thieves are only after your money. 

Experts from AVG Technologies don’t criticize the movie. However, they do make some important recommendations to help people avoid falling victim to identity theft.

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