On a recent episode of The Talk, Sara Gilbert asked if anyone has been a victim of identity theft and the resounding roar of “yes” from the audience was so loud it startled the panel.
The response was so shocking that I would say we don’t need official stats to tell us that identity theft is a problem in our society. But it seems worse when everyone knows who you are, what you do and where you’ll be at any given moment. It’s almost as if you have a target on your back.
Paris Hilton, who has amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry and made a name for herself on reality TV as the co-star of The Simple Life, was a guest host on the talkshow’s panel.
She admits that she has faked her own identity in the past. The paparazzi tend to follow her every move hoping to catch her behaving badly, as she has been known to do in the past. Although she says she’s left all that behind. When she needs her privacy, she says she hires impersonators to throw people off track. She once called in three of her best doubles and chose one to go to New York Fashion Week in her place. Her double attended headline shows for fashion lines like Versace and got the free swag and the attention while pretending to be her.
Sometimes Hilton checks into hotels under pseudonyms like London Hyatt, Cinderella or Tinkerbell just to get some time to herself.
But there are times, she says, when people use her name without permission. Hilton said she was so fed up of people trying to steal her identity that she showed up in court when it came time to testify against the last person who tried to do that to her.
The woman went to the extreme, hacking into Hilton’s personal accounts, accounts belonging to members of the Hilton family and gaining access to private and business information. Using Hilton’s name for over a period of six months, she racked up a hefty bill staying in a hotel one New Year’s Eve and went on shopping sprees in high-end stores before she was finally caught, put on trial and sentenced to almost five years in prison.
Hilton says, because her life is so public people often know where she is and what she’s doing. She posted the dates of her appearance at a venue in another city on social media and while she was away a gang called The Bling Ring broke into her home and stole her valuables, including jewellery amounting to over $2 million. The thieves broke into her home seven times before they were caught.
“They only got a week,” of jail time for the crime, says Hilton.
This time, “I had to take the woman to court and she got four-and-a-half-years in prison,” she adds.
Daily News, a Los Angeles media outlet reports that Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, 31, who has a long criminal record involving burglary, theft and fraud, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison, three years probation and a restitution of $318,500, for hacking into reality-star Paris Hilton’s bank and online accounts in an identity theft scheme.
Bkhchadzhyan waged a digital attack on Hilton via her email accounts, changing passwords to lock her out of them. She then sent emails to Hilton’s assistant and accountant requesting that $80,000 be wired into her own bank account. Actual and attempted financial damages amounted to over $550,000.
Daily News acquired the court records and found that “the same month, Bkhchadzhyan also hacked and took over the email accounts of Hilton’s father, sister and manager, and attempted to obtain the user names and passwords for all of Hilton’s online accounts.
Bkhchadzhyan also hacked Hilton’s iCloud account and obtained the socialite’s sensitive and personal information, which included nude photographs of the heiress, according to the US Attorney’s Office,” says Fred Shuster.
Hilton was motivated to make a victim impact statement against the defendant testifying that she is always looking over her shoulder because of Bkhchadzhyan’s intrusion into her life; she’s fearful to enter her own home alone and fearful that Bkhchadzhyan’s boyfriend or friends are going to hurt her or steal from her.
The former model, singer, actress and author of Confessions of an Heiress, a real “tongue-in-chic” story about her life, tends to share a lot of information about herself with her fans.
People share so much information about themselves on social media that it became a trend in Hollywood for vacationers to come home to find that they had been robbed while they were away, says rapper, actress and co-host, Eve.
Hilton was on The Talk to promote her new movie The American Meme. With support from social media moguls DJ Khaled (@djkhaled), Hailey Baldwin (@haileybieber) and Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata), the movie explores the digital lives of social media influencers, Hilton herself (@parishilton), Josh Ostrovsky (@TheFatJewish), Brittany Furlan Lee (@brittanyfurlan) and Kirill Bichutsky (@slutwhisperer), and examines the hustle behind their large digital footprints.
The American Meme premiered on Netflix on Dec. 7, 2018.