Horrifying case of identity theft
July 11th, 2010

Identity theft is a growing problem in cyber crime. Associated Press points in this article to the horrifying consequences such a mistake may have these days at a bordercrossing.

Read the case of Sylvie Nelson, executive director for the Saranac Lake Area chamber of commerce.

Customs agents sometimes order her out of her car. Twice, they handcuffed her in front of her young children. Once, agents swarmed her car and handcuffed her husband, too. Then it happens again. And again. “I can understand one missed identification,” Nelson said. “But over and over and over again?”

Nelson was born in Canada, married an American and lives with him, her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son in Saranac Lake, where she runs the chamber of commerce. She became a U.S. citizen in 2008.

Nelson crosses the border several times a month to visit relatives, friends and her family’s second home, using her Canadian passport to leave the country and her U.S. passport to get back in.

Her U.S. passport first triggered an alarm in August 2008.

In December, she was ordered from her car and handcuffed as she came back from a Montreal shopping trip with her children. Nelson was mortified and melted into tears but was soon told she was free to go.

It happened again in February at a different New York crossing. Agents surrounded her car and her husband also was handcuffed. Again, she was let go.

“They never apologize,” Nelson said. “They basically tell you that they’re doing their job for the better good of the world.”

There is no indication Nelson is on the terror “watch list” that makes headlines when babies or politicians are mistakenly entered into the database. She believes another agency’s computerized index of criminal justice information may be at fault. Nelson said she was told the problem endures because of a “technology issue.”

We better take into account such an unpleasant delay when going on vacation. Happy Holidays !!!

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