Credit Protection Alert: Fraud victim turns tables on identity thieves
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Many people equate identity theft with the large-scale data breaches so often heard about, but most cases are tied not to hackers but people with access to personal information.
Fraud victim Ibe May asked, "Why are you sending me a credit card with a limit of $35 thousand dollars when I haven't applied for it?"
That was May's question to the bank after she received a new credit card in the mail. She thought something was going on and her suspicions were soon validated.
"I'm pulling into my house and sure enough, and I see an SUV parked in front of my house and somebody from the driver's passenger side leaning into my mailbox," she said.
May called police but had few details. That changed two days later when she saw the car again.
"I let them go past me and I turn around and this time I got behind them and I got the license plate."
Turns out, Carlos and Catherine Molina had been using May's identity for months. They took out multiple credit cards and even submitted a change of address for her mail.
"It's a very eerie feeling - it's like having an evil twin you never knew you had," she said.
May now has a credit alert on all of her accounts. If anyone tries to start a new account with her information, she is alerted.
"You have to become your own advocate. You have to go to the credit card companies, you have to go to the banks, you have to tell them, 'This is not me,'" shared May.
Postal Inspectors said all consumers should get a credit report at least once a year.
"If you do confirm that it is identity theft, contact your local police first. Once you contact the local police department, make sure that the credit reporting bureau knows that it was identity theft and contact your postal inspectors in order to file a complaint so that an investigation can be initiated and the documentation process begins," said Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez.
Carlos and Catherine Molina pleaded guilty to id theft and aggravated ID theft charges. They were also ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution.