New Virginia Law Helps Identity Theft Victims

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Police arrested Angel Gonzales, 32, in front of his wife and two young children, just as the neighborhood school bus pulled up in Virginia’s Tidewater area, the Washington Post reports. Officers relied on a Las Vegas fugitive warrant for cocaine charges. The warrant said he was armed and dangerous. Ambur Daley, 27, was arrested in a North Carolina airport as she returned from visiting her grandmother in Canada. The Staunton, Va., resident spent the night in a local jail, accused of writing dozens of bad checks.

Neither Daley nor Gonzales had done anything wrong. The crimes they were accused of were committed by identity thieves who stole their names, Social Security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers. Dependent on electronic records in databanks, police were chasing the wrong people.

Both are armed with a Virginia Identity Theft Passport, the first two victims to participate in a program aimed at giving people a fighting chance in convincing police of their innocence. A new law creating the program took effect Tuesday.

Issued by a judge and bearing the seal of Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R), who pushed for the law, the passport is intended to aid Virginia residents who are victims of identity theft. “An Identity Theft Passport will serve as a shield to law enforcement to take a pause and investigate those individuals who have filed a police report and attempted to straighten out their identity,” Kilgore said last week.


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