Victim's identity stolen twice
Identity theft is bad enough if it happens once, but one woman was victimized twice.
“It’s an ongoing thing, they steal your identity," said victim Maria Chen. "It destroys your life.”
Chen knows her identity was stolen online and the suspect literally took everything.
"He had withdrawn all of my money out of the bank and opened up credit cards in my name," she explained.
Chen's bank alerted her. When she found out her money was gone and her credit was destroyed, she was angry.
"My credit is still messed up because of him," Chen said.
She immediately went to police, who were able to track down the suspect and arrest him. She also put alerts on her accounts.
But somehow, when the suspect got out of jail, he was able to use her personal information yet again.
"The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims," said US Postal Inspector Carla Menendez.
And, once they do that, they essentially can get access to your credit card account. They can add themelves as users, get their own card with their name on it and start charging on your account. The vicious cycle starts all over again.
Postal Inspectors say safeguard your personal information at all times.
"One thing we always recommend is to check your credit once a year to make sure no fraudulent activity has happened," said Menendez.
Everyone is entitled to one free credit report 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.
"I've been trying to get my life back again, so I can continue on, but it's been very hard," said Chen.
Also, never carry your social security with you. Leave it at home in a safe place.
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