Skip to main content defines Pseudonym as:

1840–50;  < Greek pseudṓnymon  false name; see pseud-, -onym

alias, nom de plume.

The Wikipedia entry on Pseudonym states:

"A pen name may be used if a writer's real name is likely to be confused with the name of another writer or notable individual, or if their real name is deemed to be unsuitable."

The entry further highlights examples of famous writers who have used nom de plume's and the reasons why; normally to conceal their real identity.

In the case of Stephen King, for example, he used "Richard Bachman" to assist with concealing the prolific nature of his writing, as well as a slight difference in style with his "Bachman" books.

To further quote Wikipedia:

"Authors who write in fiction and non-fiction, or in different genres, may use pen names to avoid confusing their readers, as in the case of mathematician Charles Dodgson, who wrote fantasy novels under the pen name Lewis Carroll."

And one of the most famous authors who used a pen name, or pseudonym, to conceal their identity was Mark Twain. His real name was Samuel Clemens.

But, is using a pseudonym as an author because you believe your real name to be "unsuitable" (doesn't suit publishing and may not assist with selling books), or simply desire to conceal your true identity equate "Identity Theft" if the name you choose belongs to a real person?

Let's take a look at this question a bit more in-depth, shall we?

I've already provided a brief overview of the definition of "Pseudonym" and why many authors use a nom de plum, or pen name. Please feel free to read the Wikipedia article on Pseudonyms for yourself for more information.

However, simply because an individual has chosen to use a "false name" as an identity under which to write, and perhaps publish their writings, does this constitute what has become known as "Identity Theft"?

I looked up information on "Identity Theft" on Wikipedia as well, and this is what I found.


Sub-divide identity theft into five categories:

1) Criminal identity theft (posing as another person when apprehended for a crime)

2) Financial identity theft (using another's identity to obtain credit, goods and services)

3) Identity cloning (using another's information to assume his or her identity in daily life)

4) Medical identity theft (using another's identity to obtain medical care or drugs)

5) Child identity theft.

I won't go into detail about each type since I provided the link to the article for you. You may read the information for yourself. I did, however, discover an additional type of "Identity Theft" listed within the Wikipedia article.

Synthetic identity theft

A variation of identity theft which has recently become more common is synthetic identity theft, in which identities are completely or partially fabricated. The most common technique involves combining a real social security number with a name and birthdate other than the ones associated with the number. Synthetic identity theft is more difficult to track as it doesn't show on either person's credit report directly, but may appear as an entirely new file in the credit bureau or as a subfile on one of the victim's credit reports. Synthetic identity theft primarily harms the creditors who unwittingly grant the fraudsters credit. Individual victims can be affected if their names become confused with the synthetic identities, or if negative information in their subfiles impacts their credit ratings.

This text makes it clear that anyone using a Pseudonym for writing purposes only is not perpetrating "Identity Theft".

In addition, I found many articles from police departments, including one from my home town, which made the conditions of "Identity Theft" perfectly clear. Personal information tied to a name must also be used by the "perpetrator" of any "theft". Personal information includes (and I post it here so readers may educate themselves, and protect their information against Identity Theft):

What Personal Information Should You Protect?

- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Name
- Address
- Phone Number
- Bank Accounts
- Mothers Maiden Name
- PIN Numbers
- Investment Information
- Credit Cards
- Any Personal Info

Armed with the above information, what conclusion do you draw? Is using a pseudonym, a name only, under which one writes and publishes, considered "Identity Theft" in your opinion?

Not in mine. It is a time honored tradition. In fact, I have a close family member who is an award winning, well known Romance author who publishes under a pseudonym, and I really can't blame her. Publishing under her real name wouldn't sell books. Her pseudonym is as steamy and elegant as her award winning writing!

However, she hasn't been accused of "Identity Theft".

I have... and not by anyone who is famous or already publishing under Rose Weaver, but by someone who received a miss-routed package and freaked out.

They've refused to release my package, even though the company in question has admitted they screwed up and has attempted, countless times, to retrieve it and deliver it to me.

They have admitted the package doesn't belong to them and have even opened it.

They refuse to release it, even though they have been notified of the situation, my real name, and can see the address on the package is mine, not theirs.

They refuse to release the now opened package which verifies exactly what I have said about where it came from, and why, because they insist they fear "Identity Theft". They have now reported the situation to the fraud department of the shipping company, although the shipping company in question is already aware of how badly they screwed up and that there is no fraud involved.

Today, the shipping company is once again attempting to retrieve my package with a police escort. Yes, that is correct. Police officials from two different cities are now involved...

Because I use a pseudonym; an apartment number was missing from my package; and someone within the shipping company decided to take it upon themselves to ship to a different Rose Weaver I never knew existed before this comedy of errors, I have been accused of Identity Theft and Fraud, and police from two different cities are now involved.

The shipping company will not be named if they are able to retrieve my package and return it to me. They have admitted it is their error that began this chain of events, which personally, I don't find all that funny anymore.

If not, I shall name them.

They won't like that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:34:25 AM PST

  •  But you haven't stolen anyone's (4+ / 0-)

    identity. you've simply used a common name in one facet of your business.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:42:16 AM PST

    •  How many people in this world (5+ / 0-)

      share a name, either by intent (Alexander Forshee, Jr.) or because it's common (Mary Smith)?  Does that constitute identity theft?

      A quick Google search of "Rose Weaver" shows there are dozens of Rose Weavers from around the country.  The name is not unique.  Are all those Rose Weavers identity thieves of the oldest Rose Weaver?

      All knowledge is worth having.

      by Noddy on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 10:04:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was told (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        by the shipping company representative that the other party is claiming the "uniqueness" of the name made them suspicious, especially since they couldn't find another in the area when they looked in the phone book.

        I thought that was funny, because interestingly enough, I've thought of legally changing my name to my current "alias", but have not been able to do so as of yet due to pending claims not yet completed.

        However, I looked up my real name in the phone book and it also is not listed.

        Why? Because I moved to my current location after the current issue was printed.

        I laughed.

        "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

        by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:08:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly true! Thank you for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      understanding my point. I'm beginning to believe this other Rose and her ever so protective husband do not understand the difference between "pseudonym" and "identity theft".

      Hence, my reason for posting. I wanted to ensure at least I did.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:05:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am in the fortunate position, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, RoseWeaver

    if I ever try going professional with what little writing I do, in that my chosen author name is legitimately mine because, although I have changed my name, I never gave up the right to use the other one.  This is because of two children and 20 years of being known by it with people occasionally forgetting to this day that I did change it.

    The funny part is, when I searched online for the different names I've gone by in my life, the only person who turned up under any variation on that particular one is me.

    My condolences on the mess you've landed in.  The other woman is a paranoid idiot, as far as I can tell.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 10:03:46 AM PST

    •  You are fortunate, and thank you for (0+ / 0-)

      your condolences. Unfortunately, this mess, if carried on long enough, may also cost me more than a simple package with contents as yet unknown.

      I may have to file a suit against the shipping company, and in the eventuality the shipper decides fraud has occurred (since the receiving party has filed fraud charges), I may lose profiles I've been using for years with my pseudonym.

      Not a fair price to pay for their paranoia, in my honest opinion.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:11:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You may call yourself anything you like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CFAmick, RoseWeaver

    so long as you are not perpetrating a fraud by it.

    If I decide to start calling myself Ashurbanipol Zabiniden, or somesuch, it's no one else's business, so long as I'm not pretending to be another specific person of that name, or trying to avoid apprehension, etc.

    Scisne me e terra ea naso tolere posse?

    by penguins4peace on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 10:56:01 AM PST

    •  Fully agree, penguins4peace. TY for (0+ / 0-)

      helping me realize I'm not alone with my opinion on this.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:12:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since When Does Using a Name Alone, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoseWeaver, Cassandra Waites

    other than the one on your birth certificate, constitute identity theft?

    It's simply an alias.  People register in hotels -- a place not their home -- using aliases all the time, yet you can't use an alias from your personal address?  Now I know when you go to the USPS to pick up a package, proof of identity is required, so you might have difficulty obtaining your package at pick-up, but shouldn't at delivery.

    After all -- millions of people receive mail addressed to "Resident" or "Occupant" and that's never construed as identity theft.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:05:58 PM PST

    •  Good points, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, Cassandra Waites

      even if I must provide evidence of my "alias", I am able to do so as I've already been published under Rose Weaver. I can also show the original shipping invoices sent to MY email, not theirs.

      As well as many other types of evidence which prove I've been using this pseudonym for many years with no other intention other than writing.

      I do enjoy your thoughts on "Resident" and "Occupant". I might have to point that out next time I speak to the shipper and/or police departments involved. :)

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:15:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It might be time to go on the offensive: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoseWeaver, Cassandra Waites

    if you can't be charged by a crime, the delivery company needs to perform the service you paid for.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:31:05 PM PST

    •  CFAmick, already one step ahead... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, chimene

      The shipping company has been informed they must retrieve it. I've made two official complaints, and my city's PD spoke to the local representative yesterday. I was told the other city's PD was supposed to be escorting a shipping representative to the home of the other individual sometime today to retrieve it... after several other failed attempts.

      We'll see what happens.

      I've been advised by my PD that if they still do not release the package, it may be time for a civil suit against the shipping company. This will be difficult since I am indigent, but I'm ready to take this incident public. This company really doesn't want their reputation ruined, I know this for sure.

      I apologize for sounding so vengeful, but when one endures so much for so long, it is time to finally stand on principle.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree-- the other Rose Weaver is nuts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoseWeaver, Cassandra Waites

    What if you had been using the name "Rose Weaver" because it WAS YOUR LEGAL NAME! Would this dimbulb still be accusing you of "identity theft"?

    I sure hope other-city-PD is able to help the shipper get your stuff back. This does sound incredibly frustrating. Good luck!

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 01:34:16 AM PST

    •  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      with the way the past three years have gone, I'm not holding my breath. Though my intent is to eventually make this name legal, I'm being held up by the VA and their broken bureaucracy.

      What's most ironic is that I'm not listed in the book with my real name either since I moved to my current location shortly after the phone books were printed, so even if Rose Weaver WAS my real name, their stated reasons for "suspicions" wouldn't wash. Legal name or not, they still wouldn't have found me listed due to my situation.

      Thanks for the "Good luck" wishes, chimene!

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 02:14:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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