Identity Theft: Office

Outfoxed at the Office

Dr. Phil wants to see how easy it is for one to commit identity theft, so he has his producers set up an experiment in the Dr. Phil offices.

"This is a pretty typical office, and already within about five minutes, there are about half a dozen identities that we could have stolen," reports Ianthe, a producer. 

Five violations she notes are: an online order form in the trash, a credit card bill lying on a desk, a student loan bill left out, a cell phone bill in the trash, and a paycheck sitting out on a desk.

"Usually on a student loan, your social security number is your ID number and account number, so it doesn't take too much to be able to piece this together," Ianthe explains. "The credit card information that's here with the address and the account number, you could easily open up yet another credit card ... This is just, quite frankly, an e-ticket to identity theft."

Dr. Phil sits in the audience with three staff members, Polly, Anne and Deb, who could have been victims of identity theft. Polly fesses up about being negligent with her personal information. "I had a credit card bill and a student loan bill [lying out]," she tells Dr. Phil.

"So anybody could just walk up and write that down," Dr. Phil observes. "Most identity theft happens from people in a work environment. Now, I'm not saying anybody at the Dr. Phil show would do that!"

"I guess I just trust my fellow employees, and don't think too much about it," Polly says.

Anne tore up her online receipt and threw it in the trash. "It took about 30 seconds to reconstruct that and put it back together," Dr. Phil points out.

"I'll be heading for the shredder," Anne says with a laugh.

Deb had her paycheck exposed on her desk. "I just want people to know how easy it is to do that. So, busted!" she says.