Identity theft is only growing more prominent in the internet age, as the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, 8.6 million households experienced identity devastation in 2010. This is up from 6.4 million households victimized by identity theft in 2005.

Making a bad problem even worse, people assume that, despite such alarming statistics, they remain completely immune from identity theft. But nobody is safe. Even today’s hottest celebrities find themselves the victims of identity theft! From Will Smith to Ricky Gervais, Hollywood big shots remain as vulnerable as the rest of us.

Will Smith

In 2005, Will Smith found himself the target of Carlos Lomax, a notorious identity predator who, as “Billboard” explains, had already committed the same transgression against athlete Steve Smith. In Will Smith’s case, the fraudulent charges amounted to a hefty $32,897.34. This unauthorized account activity failed to capture Smith’s attention until his business manager noted a suspicious $5,447 worth of products purchased from a Sears in Pittsburgh — a store Smith certainly was not known for frequenting.

Liv Tyler

We like to assume that identity thefts are unknowns, as opposed to the people we live and work with on an everyday basis. After all, as the Identity Theft Assistance Center reports, 27 percent of victims say that the person responsible for the crime is a friend, family member or acquaintance. Such was the case for Liv Tyler, who found herself the target of her own hairstylist! Prominent beautician Maria Gabriela Perez stole Tyler’s credit card information and used it to rack up a hefty $200,000. And as it turns out, Tyler was only one of several celebrities targeted by the hairstylist. Other prominent victims included Jennifer Aniston, Cher, Melanie Griffith and Anne Hathaway.

Britney Spears

It’s bad enough when predators attack celebrities’ credit card accounts for their own gain, but the ways theives phish are often vastly more creative — and dangerous — in an age of continued technological advancements. Britney Spears learned this in 2009, when her Twitter account became the site of an unfortunate phishing scam. A message posted to her feed included decidedly lewd comments, leading followers to an outside website. As “Wired” alleges, this phishing scheme did not prove particularly subtle in nature. However, it did raise alarm bells surrounding the ease with which celebrity accounts could be hacked and then used to harm social media followers.

Ricky Gervais

When it comes to identity theft, celebrities do enjoy one line of defense not available to the rest of us: instantly recognizable voices. The star of the UK version of “The Office” would have found himself the victim of an identity theft, were it not for the suspicion of one of Gervais’ biggest fans. The thwarted plot involved the theft of the actor’s personal information through an insider at NatWest bank and a later attempt at siphoning off over $300,000. As “The Register” reports, the criminals intended to convert this money to gold. (5) Fortunately, a gold bullion dealer thwarted their efforts upon failing to identify the voice on the phone as that of Ricky Gervais. If only the rest of us were this lucky!

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