Saturday, August 2, 2008

Identity Theft Strikes Again

By Kate

Just so you know, this blog is about identity theft. Trust me.

Warning: BLATANT PLUG AHEAD: EEEK! I'm bouncing around the house like a schoolgirl with a new backpack waiting for classes to begin. Three days until SHOOTS TO KILL, my seventh Flower Shop mystery, is on the bookstore shelves. I'm immensely excited about this book. But why the identity theft headline? Well,have you ever had your credit card or wallet or cell phone stolen? Imagine someone stealing your entire identity, which is what happens to my poor little novice florist, Abby Knight. Hang onto your hats. This book has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.

On the topic of identity theft, my daughter had her purse snatched right out of her car a few years ago. Being a college student on her own in Chicago and not yet used to protecting every single thing about her life, she ran up to a friend's door to see if she was ready to go – and left her car door unlocked, purse on the seat. Immediately, someone ran up, snatched the purse, and ran off. So what do these thieves do, roam the streets looking for innocents? My daughter was sick about it for weeks, not to mention having to deal with the hassle of having every piece of identity needing to be replaced. Did you know that if your social security card is stolen, they don't issue you a new number? Isn't that crazy? Anyway, she now knows never to carry her SS card with her, and to always lock her car, and to never leave anything valuable inside.

Several months later, someone broke into her little off-campus apartment and stole her laptop and all her jewelry. The laptop had photos on it that can't be replaced, and all her school work on it as well. The jewelry wouldn't have been too great a loss money-wise, but since I'd given her jewelry from my mom, who passed away shortly before the theft, the sentimental loss was through the roof. Now she has barred her doors, installed heavy shades on the windows, and tucked her valuables in hidden places. She was very lucky her kitten wasn't hurt or let out onto the streets.

Identity theft is a terrible crime. Have you ever had it happen? Do you have any tips on how to prevent it? Please share them. This is a subject we all need to be aware of and take steps to prevent.

In the FYI department: If anyone needs historical info, such as on British customs, especially those of you who are writing Regencies, check out my friend and fellow author's website: www.joannawaugh.com and also her Myspace site (link is on her website) for lots of well-researched information.

And if you need a recommendation on a book, visit: http://novelreads.blogspot.com -- a great site for book reviews.

Enjoy your week (and hopefully, my new book SHOOTS TO KILL.)
Kate