Stealing your ID can be as easy as ABC

Self-proclaimed identity thieves have a message for you: personal information is frighteningly easy to get

Tammy Martin, a 37-year-old instructor at the University of Hawaii, couldn’t believe it.

”This is wild," she said. ”You can’t live your life in a balloon, you know? But this is just wild."

Her shock was warranted. I had just called her on an unlisted cellphone number and informed her that I had her Social Security number, Visa card number, bank account and personal identification numbers, and eBay account name and password.

If I chose, not only could I drain her bank account and rack up charges on the Visa, but with her Social Security number, I could probably open new credit cards — maybe even a mortgage — long before she discovered a problem. Ultimately, she would likely not be responsible for the charges, but it might take days — or months — to rectify her credit.

By Joe Light, Globe Correspondent

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