The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity (Hardcover)
Kelso's October 2019 pick
It all started with the missing farm magazine.
In 1993, Axton's family's mail was being stolen. Just little things like pen pal letters, and her father's farming magazines. Her parents just thought it was some neighboorhood kids pulling a prank, so they purchased a PO Box, but the mail was still getting stolen.
Then came the utility shutoffs, the credit card debts, and ultimately a foreclosure on Axton's childhood home. This was the work of an identity thief.
With the local police at a loss with how to help, Axton and her family became increasingly paranoid, cutting themselves off from friends, family, and tearing their family apart. When Axton learns that she too, has become a victim of identity fraud herself, she decides to devote her life to catching the persons responsible for the years of psychological, financial, and emotional damage.
Written with brilliant prose against the backdrop of Axton's Ph.D in Human Development with a focus on Child Identity Theft, and with a seriously shocking twist that even I didn't see coming, "The Less People Know About Us" is a stunning, heartbreaking work of True Crime that will keep you reading until the last page, I would highly recommend this book to readers new to the True Crime genre, or readers looking to a fantastic True Crime book, but without all the serial killers, murderers, blood, and gore.— From Kelso
AN EDGAR AWARDS 2020 WINNER
In this powerful true crime memoir, an award-winning identity theft expert tells the shocking story of the duplicity and betrayal that inspired her career and nearly destroyed her family.
Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in small-town Indiana in the early '90s. When she was 11 years old, her parents both had their identities stolen. Their credit ratings were ruined, and they were constantly fighting over money. This was before the age of the Internet, when identity theft became more commonplace, so authorities and banks were clueless and reluctant to help Axton's parents.
As a result, Axton spent her formative years crippled by anxiety, quarantined behind the closed curtains in her childhood home. She began starving herself at a young age in an effort to blend in--her appearance could be nothing short of perfect or she would be scolded by her mother, who had become paranoid and consumed by how others perceived the family.
About the Author
hit close to home."
memoir has all the suspense and twists of a thriller; even as readers begin to
suspect the truth, it still shocks...highly recommended."
"Betz-Hamilton expertly blends true crime and memoir in this tale of family, lies, and identity...a brave, candid examination of her painful past [and] a poignant and fascinating exploration of identity theft."
theft' sounds like something that happens far, far away and only to other
people...certainly not within a seemingly picture-perfect family in the
rural U.S. In a gut-wrenching portrayal of victimization starting at age 11,
Axton Betz-Hamilton shows that's simply not true. The stunning revelations will
keep you looking over your shoulder for a long time and even more troubling...at
the ones you think you know the best!"
challenges for those of us advocating for more rights and resources for
identity theft victims is their reluctance to share their experience. Betz-Hamilton writes with candor and grace about both her
relationship with her mother/perpetrator, and the long term effect
victimization has had on her life."
"A brave, rueful memoir of fear and heartbreak in rural America. Axton Betz-Hamilton mines the most essential of life's questions: can we ever really know the people we love? The Less People Know About Us is an unflinching portrait of grit and determination in the wake of a fractured childhood and complicated grief."—Carolyn Murnick, author of The Hot One