For what its worth (and not to belittle the tribulatoins of anyone who has been violated), i believe that my identity is made up of my actions and experieces. I do not accept the myth that my identity can be stolen. It is my belief that the perpetration of what we call "identity theft" is wrong, immoral, and undoubtedly damaging. My main concern is that it is a mis-nomer, that is, someone has coined this phrase in order to try to link each one of us with our consumerism. I am confused (and quite frankly annoyed) by any statement which links my identity with my possessions or social status or job or image, for that matter. I am also frustrated and alarmed that I contribute to a system which could allow such a thing to happen to your friend (perhaps the real criminal here is lack of development of a system before implementation).
It seems to me that when people are faced with tough dewcisions and adversity, the way they act and respond to such things is more important than their societal status. If someone takes my societal status away, it does not change who i am or what i am capable of. In fact, facing a new challenge will only increase my knowledge, potential and where-with-all.
As for wealth, here is another common mis-nomer which is used by our over-bloated, selfish, imperialistic, spoiled, ungrateful culture. Whenever people use the idea of wealth to mean personal worth, buying power, as measured by the American consumer-based philosophy, it reminds me of just how ridiculous our perspective has become. As we all know, the only wealth in this world is our friends and families. People are the most important resource people have and the positive, constructive interaction between them is the only way to increase wealth.
I know that we understand this implicitly and i am not accusing anyone of being superfluous, rather I just clarifying what my original statement means to me. When I question the usefulness of calling experian, equifax, trans union as an act to protect my identity or wealth, i am coming from a perspective of: How can a bank or consumer association or credit bureau protect my experiences, friendships, or actions? AND Why do i live in a culture where i have to check with the banks, credit bureaus, consumer associations to see if i am a legitimate, legal person? (this is when i start to get pissed)
I am willing to bet that your friend, Gary, who has been through this crisis of losing her entire connection with the "civilized" world (and probably also tragically losing her ability to provide for her children as a result) would agree with me that the things we are so quick to protect in our society are not the valuables we think they are.
My main concern is that our culture has gotten so far away from the good stuff of life (and the fair and equitable distribution of such stuff), that we are no longer worried about designing and implementing systems that will protect each other from the mischievious and desparate elements of human nature. Our main desire seems to be the perpetuation of this consumer-based nightmare we all find ourselves in. As a peon in this system, i can tell you that it would be inconvenient for me to lose my possesions and lifestyle, but the plain fact of the matter is that all that I am worth under the American sun is less than many people make in one month. I could give you a list of the people who consumerism benefits in the country, but the bigger problem is that what i am worth could feed tens of thousands who just died of starvation while i was composing this email (who now have no identity, i think we would all agree).
The idea of "identity theft" is ridiculous. The idea of "wealth", as a function of the American consumer-based model is equally morose. I dare anyone to take away my identity by spending money in my name or ruining my credit ! I dare anyone to take away my wealth by taking my possessions away from me ! I dare anyopne to break me by casting me out of this hypocritical society of inbred paranoia and fear-mongering.
So you might ask, Why should I give people the opportunity to take away all the consumerism i have "earned" to this point? Because although my consumerism and potential consumerism has a value, is not who I am !
You might also ask, Isn't it worth something to be an American citizen with a legitimate social-security number, birth certificate, etc.? Yes, yes it is worth something, but best to keep it in perspective.