Identity theft is a silent crime with the potential to destroy entire lives before the truth is uncovered – if, in fact, it ever is. Victims of identity theft are often further victimized by actions stemming from the initial theft and may be isolated by law enforcement officers who ignore them or, worse, prosecute them for the crimes that have already destroyed their lives.
Rick Hallock is no stranger to identity theft. In Evil Shadows, he catalogs his ten-year fight against US Customs and the federal government following the theft of his identity in early 2000. His battle against identity theft took him all the way to the US Supreme Court in an effort to rebuild a life completely torn apart by the very same government sworn to protect its people.
On June 8, 2000, 15 Customs agents and NY State Troopers entered the Hallock home in upstate New York with a search warrant alleging that Hallock created a Web site for the distribution of child pornography. Despite overwhelming evidence that Hallock’s identity was stolen, the investigation continued for more than a year and cost him his business, his property, and his peace of mind.
Hallock presents his story with accompanying evidence from various affidavits and investigative reports to which he gained access through several Freedom of Information Act requests. As he argues, the evidence fully supports not only his innocence of any crimes for which he was accused but also the unlawful detention, abuse, and destruction of computer hardware and data that he used to make his living.
Hallock paints an awful portrait of the agents responsible for this investigation and makes a compelling argument for their possible motives, though he disclaims having any concrete proof of his theory. Evil Shadows ends with important information readers can use to minimize the possibility of falling victim to identity theft, as well as steps they should take to control the damage should the unthinkable occur.
Evil Shadows is an incredibly disturbing story, all the more so because it is real. However, the narrative is often overwhelmingly repetitive and disjointed, making it very difficult to keep the information and the story straight while reading. While Hallock goes to great lengths to make sure every fact is tied together properly, many chapters could be combined and streamlined to give his story an even greater impact.
I would be thrilled to see a second edition of Evil Shadows that tightens up the story as I mentioned above; nonetheless, I do recommend Evil Shadows to any fans of true crime or cyber crime, as well as anybody who wants to really understand the destruction caused by identity theft.
Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, son, and two cats. When she isn’t reading, getting paid to play on social media, or running her own business she enjoys playing with her baby and cooking.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Rick Hallock. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.