Mickey Mouse is the latest celebrity victim of identity theft according to Bellevue Police (Washington). A forged Washington State driver license containing Mickey’s personal identifiers were obtained during the bust of an identity theft ring.
The license (see photo) identifies the victim as Mick E. Mouse, home address corresponding to Disneyland, as a male, weighing 119 pounds, height 5’-2”, black eyes and an organ donor. The date of birth appearing on the fake license, November 18, 1928, corresponds to Mickey’s first sound cartoon debut in Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie.”
Mr. Mouse is not the first VIP or celebrity who has been victimized by identity theft. Those who have had their identity stolen and privacy violated include first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, as well as many celebrities including Beyonce, Jay Z, Mel Gibson, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Tiger Woods and many others. Mickey Mouse may be the first known cartoon character to become a victim of identity theft, and the first celebrity for which fake identification was produced.
Millions of Americans become victims of identity theft each year. It is eye opening when icons like Mickey Mouse are victimized through such a blatant display of impersonation identity theft through forged government picture identification. Despite the high probability that anyone and everyone can fall victim to this insidious crime, many Americans don’t understand the crime of identity theft nor do they take appropriate steps to deter, detect, and defend their identity.
Late last week Bellevue police responded to a complaint of stolen property at a residence and an investigation led to four arrests. According to police, the search yielded 39 false Washington ID cards and drivers' licenses (including one in the name of Mick E. Mouse), 67 fraudulent credit cards, 28 various false government ID cards, seven false Social Security cards and several hundred forged checks.
Police authorities in Bellevue believe the identity theft victim information was stolen from the victim’s mailboxes and automobiles. Consumers are reminded to never put outgoing mailing containing personally identifiable information in their residential mailbox for pickup and to never leave such information in their automobile (See accompanying video story of a person who suffered from 42 felonies and 82 misdemeanors). Neither should consumers place personal information in the trash without shedding it, because personal information can be stolen easily.
Our office contacted Mr. Mouse for comment and to learn if he suffered any financial loses or if his car was broken into recently. We were told by a Mouse spokesperson that the aging Mr. Mouse was not available for comment and that he is distraught over the matter.
Many victims of identity theft suffer from emotional stress, a little known consequence, especially by consumers who have never been victimized. A recent report suggests that nearly 80% of victims suffer from stress, 10% of which was rated severe. Stress is in addition to financial losses, legal fees, bounced checks, time lost fixing the problem, and inconveniences.
It has been said that criminals are often one step ahead of law enforcement, and in this scenario the experts. For years we contemplated purchasing a forged driver license from a nefarious overseas producer with Mickey Mouse’s information. Our interest was to use the forgery in our accredited identity theft educational seminars to demonstrate how easily and inexpensively forged identification can be obtained. The crooks beat us to the gag, and we’re glad we didn’t commit the cartoonish fraud in respect to the iconic mouse entertainer.
It shows, it’s just a matter of time before you become a victim.