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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Identity Theft During the Holiday Season

Updated: Wednesday, November 27 2013, 09:53 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Its bad enough if it happens to you once but here's the story of one woman was victimized twice and how you can avoid a similar fate.

Maria Chen said, It's an ongoing thing, they steal your identity. It destroys your life."

Maria 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He had withdrawn all of my money out of the bank and withdrawn all of my money out of the bank and opened up credit cards in my name."

Maria's bank alerted her.  When she found out her money was gone and her credit destroyed and she was angry.

My credit is still messed up because of him."

Maria immediately went to police, who were able to track down the suspect and arrest him. She also put alerts on her accounts; yet somehow when the suspect got out of jail he was able to use her personal information yet again.

Carla Menendez said, The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims."

And once they do that, they essentially can get access to your credit card account. They can add themselves as users get their own card with their name on it and start charging on your account.

The vicious cycle starts all over again.

Some advice from postal inspectors: 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."

Maria Chen said, I've been trying to get my life back again. So I can continue on, but it's been very hard."

Also, never carry your social security card with you.  Always leave it at home in a safe place. Howard Ain, Local 12 Troubleshooter.

Video HERE
Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Identity Theft During the Holiday Season

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