Sunday, December 18, 2005

Meth users and identity theft go together like rats and garbage

Evidence linking methamphetamine addiction and identity theft is getting more compelling all the time. The San Jose Mercury News is running an AP story on the connection between the two, particularly focusing on California.

AP Wire | 12/17/2005 | Meth users turning to identity theft to pay for their habit:

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Stealing mail. Digging through trash. Days spent in front of a computer trying to unlock financial information.

All to score methamphetamine.Authorities are discovering that more and more desperate users of the drug are turning to identity theft to pay for their habit, creating a criminal nexus costing Americans millions of dollars.

The trend is sweeping the West and spreading to other parts of the country, with one hub of activity in the garages and trailer parks of Riverside and San Bernardino counties on the fringe of suburban Los Angeles.

The region was the site of a third of California's nearly 500 meth lab busts in 2004 and is home to the second-highest number of identity theft victims in the nation.

'It's been said the two crimes go together like rats and garbage,' said Jack Lucky, a Riverside County prosecutor who nearly became a victim of identity theft himself before his personal information was found at a meth lab.'It's a pervasive problem,' he said...

Drug addiction and crime have always been linked as addicts are in need of quick cash to fuel their habits. Muggings and burglaries have generally had a strong connection with drug abuse. As addicts move to ID theft and similar forms of fraud, the amount of money they are able to get is greater and the risk of violence is much lower. Some might even say that this is a good thing.

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