Maybe giving everyone your bank account number isn't such a good idea after all?

Jeremy Clarkson of
Jeremy Clarkson of

A British television star tried to prove that identity theft was no big deal by having his bank account number printed in a newspaper. And then he was ripped off.

Jeremy Clarkson of the British show Top Gear said that the loss of millions of records containing personal information was a "storm in a teacup." He said identity theft was a sham, and he had a newspaper print his bank account details to prove it, along with information on himself, his address, and his car.

And then someone stole £500 from his bank account, and he's not laughing anymore. The theft was committing by doing a direct debit from his account to a supposed charity, as charities don't need an account holder's signature to do the debit. Not so surprisingly, Clarkson has eaten his words and now thinks that identity theft really is a big deal.

What can you do if your identity has been stolen? I offer a few tips on my website.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.