Evil Shadows is, unfortunately, a true account of the aftermath of identity theft. It paints a grim portrait as it explains how identity theft can lead to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of the victim. The victim’s (the author’s) identity was stolen which led to his financial ruin and the closure of his successful publishing company, not because of the theft itself but because of the actions of federal agents and prosecutors.
This book was received directly from the author in exchange for a review by Closed the Cover. When the book arrived I first noticed the return address was for a city approximately two hours away; the close proximity only increased the anxiety and terror caused by the details of Hallock’s experience. Hallock had a troublesome early youth but he matured, graduated college, married, had a family and ran his own successful business. He was living the American dream until he became a victim of identity theft and he watched his world crumble. He was forced to close his business and his marriage was troubled but worse than the private pain was the criminal investigation as Hallock himself was being investigated for crimes he never committed. Guilty until proven innocent the worst of this experience was not the financial impact but the fear of being sent to prison despite being an innocent victim.
It is a terrifying reality and one that is so easily overlooked. The focus, whenever there is a discussion of the perils of identity theft, is almost always financial. The advice is always the same – check your credit report, dispute accounts that are suspect, put alerts on your credit cards, keep your credit card numbers and associated customer care telephone numbers in a safe so you can call to cancel them in the event they are lost or stolen – but how often are you informed of how to recover from an identity thief who steals an identity and then uses it to perpetrate cybercrimes?
Evil Shadows is an exhausting and harrowing account of a man trying to regain his own life and forced to fight to prove his innocence after becoming the primary suspect in a worldwide federal investigation into child pornography. It’s a terrible tale made even more horrific by the constant realization that this is all true and that Hallock was an unfortunate victim of truly awful events. There are time when the tone of the book is heavily bitter but, considering the circumstances, is completely understandable. Evil Shadows should be a must-read on everyone’s list. It offers insight into the severe consequences of identity theft, well beyond the financial, and the possibilities are terrifying.
Review by Ashley LaMarClosed the Cover