Man charged with trying to steal Paul Allen's identity

A Pittsburgh man is accused of wire fraud after he allegedly manages to change the address to one of the Microsoft co-founder's bank accounts.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It can't be that easy to call up a bank and pretend to be someone famous. Or can it?

Perhaps it can, if allegations leveled against 28-year-old Brandon Price are proven to be true. For he stands accused of persuading a Citibank customer service representative that he had, indeed, co-founded Microsoft and was now changing his address from Seattle to Pennsylvania.

The way the Associated Press identifies the story, Price allegedly managed to have a debit card sent to a Pittsburgh address. His intention was allegedly to pay loans that were past due, as well as other expenses.

Indeed, he is accused of attempting a $15,000 transaction through Western Union, as well as a $658.81 payment on an Armed Forces loan account.

He was even allegedly caught on surveillance footage trying to use the debit card at a dollar store, which some might have thought was unlikely behavior for a multibillionaire.

Some might wonder how likely it might be for someone of Allen's wealth to personally call a bank to register a change of address. But David Postman, a spokesman for Allen, told the AP, "Clearly, it's a reminder that anyone can be a victim of this."

Another thought that might cross minds is what information Price allegedly offered to Citibank in order to effect what is alleged to have been a perfectly smooth change of address.

Still, if the fraud had gone undetected, what lengths might have the alleged miscreant gone to? Would he have tried to wrest control of Allen's Seattle Seahawks so that he could orchestrate more successful plays?

Would he have attempted to trade LaMarcus Aldridge of Allen's Portland Trail Blazers for Kobe Bryant and a couple of draft picks? Would he at least have tried to get hold of some of Allen's legendary guitar collection? (Video embedded.)

Everything seems to happen facelessly these days. How is anyone supposed to know who we really are?

 

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