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The Less People Know About Us

A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
Narrated by: Laurie Winkel
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Axton's family changed all of their personal information and moved to different addresses, but the identity thief followed them wherever they went. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, Axton and her parents completely cut off the outside world, isolating themselves from friends and family. Axton learned not to let anyone into the house without explicit permission, and once went as far as chasing a plumber off their property with a knife.

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.

Years later, her parents' marriage still shaken from the theft, Axton discovered that she, too, had fallen prey to the identity thief, but by the time she realized, she was already thousands of dollars in debt and her credit was ruined.

The Less People Know About Us is Axton's attempt to untangle an intricate web of lies, and to understand why and how a loved one could have inflicted such pain. Axton will present a candid, shocking, and redemptive story and reveal her courageous effort to grapple with someone close that broke the unwritten rules of love, protection, and family.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Axton Betz-Hamilton (P)2019 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"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)

"The tension of a thriller...[and] jaw dropping revelations. Astonishing and disturbing, this emotionally resonant book is perfect for true crime fans." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

"This memoir has all the suspense and twists of a thriller; even as readers begin to suspect the truth, it still shocks...highly recommended." (Booklist)

"Axton Betz-Hamilton's story is remarkable. One of the primary 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." (Eva Casey Velasquez, president/CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center)

"'Identity 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!" (Nancy Grace, legal commentator, broadcast journalist, and New York Times best-selling author of The Eleventh Victim)
 

What members say

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  • Jas
  • Oregon
  • 10-25-19

Wow, just wow

This is an exceptional book. I felt like I was reading a thriller, and she even had me entranced after listening to 5 minutes. Five stars!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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WOW

Much, much better book than I was expecting. This is a story that isn't just about financial ruin...... I highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A little heavy on unimportant info

Great book, gripping story, and excellent narration. only issue is that there's too much focus on stuff that doesn't really move the story along. Being from Indiana, loved hearing about all of the Indiana related locations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not-put-downable!

This story is centered on Axton and her troubled relationship with her mother, who, it later turns out, wrecked the family finances and financial prospects. it was a captivating listen, especially as it is discovered that the mother lived multiple separate lives.

This story, while an amazing look into identity theft and its victims, also brings home the point that is not new, that most crime is actually perpetrated by someone the victims know.

If I had a criticism, it would be that the narrator was probably not the best choice for the topic. Her voice sounds too young, too immature, too lackadaisical.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable experience, albeit for the content, not the performance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tough Life

Axton Betz-Hamilton has had a lot of tough times in her life and like the woman in "Educated," it is amazing that she was able to obtain the education she accomplished. Her life was full of disfunctional relatives and a great many secrets and lies. She is still seeking answers.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Barb49
  • Farmington Hills, Michigan USA
  • 11-06-19

Went on much too long

Was almost agonizing to confirm that her mother was the thief. I think all readers had that figured out at the beginning.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Vanessa Young
  • 11-03-19

Book of the year for 2019 for me.

I bought this book after hearing the author interviewed on local radio and it did not disappoint. There seems to be a plethora of people coming out with stories of parents who betrayed them and/or who lived double lives. My own father did this and I always wanted to know more about his layers of deceit but after hearing Axton's story I have let go of that idea. It is particularly fitting that Axton managed to turn a catastrophic upbringing into a useful field of study. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.