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Teen Allegedly Steals Government Official's Identity

White House cabinet official affected by crime

Friday, January 06, 2012
Teen Allegedly Steals Government Official's IdentityA 17-year-old from Georgia allegedly stole a "senior-level" White House official’s identity, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.

The accused crook, Austin Townsend, has been charged with identity theft after an investigation by both the Douglas County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Secret Service, according to a report from Atlanta television station WSB. However, despite the crime, authorities believe Townsend was not targeting the official specifically.

"He wanted a Discover card and apparently got on the computer and started Googling different areas and ended up with a particular Social Security number," Douglas County chief deputy Stan Copeland told the news station. "He was not Googling any particular person. We don't think he had any knowledge (of who it was)."

Townsend's credit card application was approved, but a credit agency noticed that the name on the card and Social Security number associated with it did not match, and let Secret Service know when it realized who the number belonged to, the report said.

Eduard Goodman, chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, writes regularly about privacy and legal issues that consumers may face.

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