It proves the point that identity thieves are lurking in places you would least expect. Patients being wheeled into an emergency room for crisis care were worried about their health and had no time to worry about their personal information being stolen. But, that's exactly what happened.
"When people came into the ER or off an ambulance her job was to take their information and load it into a computer," explained US Postal Inspector Michael Romano.
Asia Tompkins was a hospital registry clerk. After she registered patients into the hospital, she stole their personal information.
"She applied for more than 130 credit cards in other individuals' names," said Romano.
So how did she use the money? Postal Inspectors say they got several leads from her own Facebook page. Under her likes, she had "shopping, shopping, shopping and getting money."
"After she made purchases the Inspection services was able to track down those purchases – we had her on video surveillance making the purchases – then a search warrant was issued to her home," said Romano.
They found high-end clothing, jackets, boots, cash and a log of personal information.
"The loss was $50-thousand dollars – the impact was extremely significant with 130 victims compromised," Romano said.
Postal Inspectors worked with victims to monitor their credit and most said they were stunned where it happened.
Romano added, "It's a situation where people came into the hospital expecting services and not expecting to have their identities breached."
Tompkins accepted a plea deal for identity theft and bank fraud charges. She was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
It's important to check your credit report to find out if there is fraudulent activity. Everyone is entitled to free checks every year with each of the three credit reporting agencies. The Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida recommends the website AnnualCreditReport.com. It has step-by-step instructions and links to all three credit bureaus.
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