Twenty-somethings live in luxury thanks to their neighbors' identities

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If you can't trust your neighbors in your fancy apartment building, who can you trust?

A young Philadelphia couple was arrested late last week and charged with identity theft, forgery, unlawful use of a computer, and many more charges. Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward Anderton, both in their twenties, had quite a bit of fun on their neighbors' tabs. Their spending reportedly included trips to Paris, London, and Hawaii.

A neighbor of the couple reported the theft of her identity on November 19. She was tipped off by a UPS package from retailer with which she never did business. After a little police investigating at the local UPS store, police were ready to arrest Kirsch and Anderton.

In the couple's $3,000-a-month apartment, police found $17,500 cash, multiple credit cards and driver's licenses, and keys to mailboxes and apartments belonging to other tenants in their apartment building. Most notably, police found a handy book entitled "The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims." The total financial damage is expected to exceed six figures, and multiple victims have already been identified.

And to think they lived in a "high-end" neighborhood. It just goes to show who you can and cannot trust. Many think identity theft happens mostly because of anonymous overseas computer hackers or grungy petty thieves who get hold of credit card numbers. This shows you how critical it is for all consumers to keep close tabs on their credit and their mail.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.
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