Olim groups troubled by identity theft case

Identity theft can lead to embarrassing and potentially tragic arrests and travel bans.

February 18, 2010 04:34
1 minute read.
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The recent identity theft of six British olim has raised concerns among many organizations that support and assist new immigrants, over the possibility that their members may be future targets.

Though no one is sure who is responsible for the stolen identities – Hamas has pointed a finger at the Mossad, while others suggest this may have been an attempt to frame the agency – the possibility of such an incident occurring again exists.

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For the groups that aim to help new and potential olim navigate Israeli bureaucracy, this poses a difficult situation. Some of these organizations have been contacted by members trying to find out how to protect their identities and avoid falling victim to similar problems.

Identity theft can lead to embarrassing and potentially tragic arrests and travel bans.

When contacted by The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, most of these organizations declined to comment, due to lack of information and to not having decided on a course of action, though all expressed concern.

Doron Klein, deputy director of Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation in Israel, expressed empathy for the British victims.

“I’m sure it will be troubling to have their names splashed all over the world’s papers if they have nothing to do with it,” Klein said Wednesday.

He also personally spoke to one of the British olim whose identity was used. Klein described him as “taking it in quite good humor. He sounded a bit proud to have his name as someone involved in getting rid of a Hamas member.”

Klein recommended that the identity theft victims contact the British embassy in an effort to clear their names.

“They should show their passports, with the entrance and exit stamps, to prove they have not left the country,” he said, adding that in his opinion, “the best thing to do is be as open as possible. This way they may be able to get their names cleared off any wanted lists.”

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