Apartment renters found themselves the target of a scam. Each victim had filled out a rental application with personal information.
"Somebody who worked for the apartment management complex was able to obtain copies of their rivers licenses and their applications and they were given to the defendant," explained US Postal Inspector, Blanca Alvarez.
The identity thief then went online and with those dates of birth and social security numbers, applied for loans.
"They ranged from $25,000 and up," said Alvarez.
Postal Inspectors got involved because the checks were being sent to vacant addresses.
"The checks would be picked up by the defendant who was stealing the mail," said Alvarez.
Next step in this fraud, hiring people who, with Fake IDs, who would go into banks and cash the student loan checks.
"The total potential loss in this case was over a half million dollars… the victims in this case had a difficult time fixing their credit. It's a lengthy process," said Alvarez.
"If their identities are stolen, most parents wouldn't catch that crime for 10, perhaps 15 years down the road... so an ID thief really gets a good head start year after year after year," explained Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton.
The best advice is to check your credit report to make sure no one has stolen your identity and taken our loans or credit cards in your name. Everyone is entitled to one free check 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.
Also, shred any documents with personal information.