Victim discovers how her ID was stolen
Check accounts, addresses, names on your credit report
Jill Carlson thought it was a simple mix-up.
“I got home one day and I’ve got a package on my front porch from eBay, which I did not order,” she explained.
But, the next day, when she found a notice telling her to pick up another package, she got suspicious and spoke to the post office clerk.
"Is there a way to stop packages from coming to my house, there is something going on," Carlson asked.
Turns out thieves stole her identity, opened an ebay account in her name and began ordering online with the intent of picking up the packages before Carlson retrieved them.
"Just by chance, they missed two," added Carlson.
She discovered the woman who stole her identity, Stacy Wallin, was part of a house painting crew she hired years earlier.
Wallin and her crew knew Carlson's schedule, which was why they were able to grab packages from her home without anyone noticing.
"It became more personal at that point, the anger level was intense," admitted Carlson.
While she didn't lose any money, the damage done to Carlson's credit was devastating.
"I did have major problems with my credit report because all of a sudden you are late with a payment. They stole credit card statements out of my mailbox. They stole credit reports out of my mailbox. It took me probably a year to start rebuilding my credit," she said.
And the process to rebuild is not easy.
"It's amazing how hard it is for you to prove you are the actual person," said Carlson. "It's easier for them to change your records then it is for you to go back and prove that you are who you are."
"Prosecutors, both federal, state and local and the judicial officers have realized that ID theft is not a victimless crime and it impacts the very fabric of the American economy," said US Postal Inspector E Woodson.
Postal inspectors say ID theft is growing at an alarming rate and can happen to anyone.
"Many of these victims cannot afford this and one act of ID theft can impact their lives, they can't pay for a child's education, they can't get credit," said Woodson.
To help protect yourself, inspectors say order an annual credit report and check to see if all the accounts and addresses are yours and that no other names are on your account.
Every person is entitled to one free report a year, from each of the three credit bureaus. 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.
As for Wallin, she was sentenced to more than three years in prison and she was ordered to pay more than $35,000 in restitution.
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