Identity Theft Hollywood Style

The Talented Mr. Ripley Showed Identity Theft at its Worst

Identity theft usually involves a huge loss of time and money for its victims. That can certainly be annoying and frustrating, but it doesn’t seem quite as somber when you consider the worst possible case of identity theft. Hollywood portrayed identity theft at its possible worst in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon. The Talented Mr. Ripley portrayed Damon’s character as a sociopath who murdered several people and then assumed the identity of the young millionaire that he killed. This movie is clearly identity theft portrayed in the worst possible way.

A Look At The Mind of a Criminal

During the movie, Damon’s character, Tom Ripley went to Europe to bring back to America the son of a wealthy millionaire. Unfortunately, things go terribly wrong. The movie takes place in the 1950s before DNA testing and other technology, so that helps us to understand how Tom Ripley could pull off this charade for so long. Ripley killed Dickie Greenleaf, a young millionaire. Afterward, he begins to assume Greenleaf’s identity in the worst possible case of identity theft imaginable.

When Ripley is pretending to be Greenleaf in order to make this case of identity theft believable, he goes so far as extensively practicing how to sign Greenleaf’s name, and he is able to duplicate his mannerisms very accurately. Ripley always had a very good excuse for Greenleaf’s absence every time he encountered Greenleaf’s friends and they inquired about his whereabouts.

Mr. Ripley Isn't The Stereotypical Identity Theft Criminal

In real life, most cases of identity theft, fortunately, are not patterned after Hollywood’s portrayal in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Identity theft most often involves someone using the identity of another individual to obtain credit cards or loans. Handwriting analysis is pretty sophisticated, so fortunately if any authorized purchases on your credit card were investigated by an expert, it would be evident that the signatures don’t match yours. In any case, it is still very important to take steps to preserve your financial information in order to avoid identity theft.

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