It’s been two years since Brighton MacDonald’s truck was stolen and recovered, but the White Rock man continues to be haunted by the crime.
Last week, the 24-year-old found himself in handcuffs for 30 minutes after police took him briefly into custody, apparently believing he was breaching a driving ban.
The officer who pulled him over on 176 Street at 24 Avenue May 1 “asked me my name and I told him my name, and he says, ‘No, what’s your other name?’” MacDonald told Peace Arch News.
“He pulls me out in the middle of rush hour, he put handcuffs on me and tossed me in the back of a cop car.”
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko confirmed Wednesday that MacDonald’s name “has been used as an alias by another individual who is known to police.”
“After doing police checks, the officers were able to confirm (MacDonald’s) identity,” Sturko said.
MacDonald said police told him “they essentially were trying to make sure I wasn’t (this other individual).” And, he was told, a note has now been put on file “to make sure that this inconvenience doesn’t happen again.”
“Is that enough for me? I don’t know. I want them to catch the guy,” he said.
According to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, identity theft can occur through a variety of channels, and cause victims all manner of grief, from financial loss to difficulty obtaining credit.
MacDonald said he’s been fortunate so far that he hasn’t been stuck with any unexpected bills as a result of his truck’s theft. He said the Ford F250 was found two days after it was stolen, none the worse for wear, save for the fact his insurance papers and wallet were missing.
Evidence the documents were used for nefarious purposes started to appear about six months later, and included contact from New Westminster police, who found someone carrying MacDonald’s credit card.
Fraudulent bank and cellphone accounts, and even evidence of a Costco membership followed.
“I received a bunch of stuff in the mail. I received a debit card… for an account I never opened. I received letters from Costco saying it’s time to renew your membership, and I don’t have one.”
MacDonald said he has contacted agencies including credit bureau Equifax to report the theft, and his credit has been “red-flagged” as a result.
He said he wants others to be aware of what can happen, and the lasting impact identity theft can have.
“Two years later, to have that incident happen on (May 1),” he said.
“I was so blown away by what was happening.”
Anyone who suspects they are a victim of identity theft is advised to contact police, their financial institution and credit card company, as well as Equifax (1-800-465-7166), TransUnion Canada (1-877-525-3823) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501). For more information, visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca