Give a man an inch and he thinks he's a ruler. Keep ignoring identity thieves and you end up with a generation of Super Thieves that are skilled, cocky and almost impossible to catch.
I've worked with thousands of victims of identity theft, and hundreds of police departments and other law enforcement agencies. The biggest complaint I hear from victims is not about thieves but about law enforcement.
As most victims of identity theft will tell you, law enforcement are typically not very sympathetic to the crime or its victims. I'll occasionally come across a cop who really gets it - that identity theft can be a life-altering crime and that even if there's not much law enforcement can do to investigate, at least a sympathetic ear can go a long way.
But such cops are as rare as bull's milk. Things got so bad in California that the legislature actually had to introduce legislation requiring law enforcement to take reports from identity theft victims, because so many police and sheriff's departments simply refused to.
And it's that indifference that has helped to create Super Thieves. Super Thieves are everywhere, in almost every community. More than four years ago, law enforcement in the city of Oakland California admitted to me that they had identified more than two dozen local identity gangs who operated in the city with almost complete impunity. And while most of these gangs started at the very bottom, they didn't linger there long.
Super Thieves are professional identity thieves who started out as anything but. They are usually criminals to start with, though a little petty, and often as a result of drug dependence. Their venture into the business of identity theft usually starts with the most basic of ground-floor crimes, like mail theft, check forgery, or dumpster diving. When they realize (a) it's very easy, (b) it's very lucrative, and (c) nobody seems to be chasing them, they get confident and even a little cocky. It's simply human nature. If you commit a crime that's easy and pays well, and realize that not only are cops not looking for you but they don't really seem to care at all about what you're doing, you're just going to keep doing it.