THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton
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Real Stories of Identity Theft

Dee, Abilene

In late July 2007, after a store refused to accept Dee's personal check after running it through a check verification service, Dee called her bank and learned that someone had written 10-15 checks on her account, withdrawing $5,000. She said the bogus checks had her account number on them, but the names of two other people with California addresses. She said the checks were issued in San Diego and Chula Vista, Calif.

On realizing she had become an ID theft victim, Dee said she had a sick feeling that it was actually happening to her. Dee said police told her that a person who had checks with her account number was arrested by authorities in San Diego and prosecuted on an unrelated charge.

Dee said she closed her checking account and opened a new one. She said the bank returned the $5,000 to her account. She hasn't had any further ID theft problems.


 

Cedric, Killeen

A Texas prison guard, Cedric, learned that he had become a victim of identity theft when he received a call from Kay's Jewelers' fraud unit in June 2007 telling him that someone was attempting to open an account in his name at a Kay's Jeweler store in Austin. The company refused to open the account when they realized the person was an ID thief.

Cedric checked his credit bureau report the following month and found that other creditors had run a credit check on him in June. Cedric called Sam's Club and the two jewelry companies and learned that someone had opened credit accounts in his name. He said an ID thief charged $1,200 on one card, $3,700 another account and $3,900 on the other account.

Cedric said he filed a complaint about the ID theft with police and placed a fraud alert on his credit bureau accounts.

Cedric said police believe his personal information was stolen from a dealership where he purchased a vehicle.


 

Carlos, San Antonio

Carlos, vice president for commercial lending at a bank in San Antonio, says he learned he had become a victim to ID theft when he received several unsolicited credit cards in his name and a letter from Sears declining to open a Sears's credit account in his name because he already had a Sears's card.

Carlos said he checked his credit bureau reports and learned that someone had used his name to apply for accounts with 40 different creditors, including retailers, Visa and MasterCard.

Carlos said that his personal information was used by an ID thief to buy a sports car, open four credit card accounts each with $10,000 lines of credit, open and spend about $2,000 on a Wal-Mart credit card account and rent an apartment. Carlos said the dealer who sold the car to the ID thief obtained a copy of the thief's phony driver's license and bogus Social Security card, both of which contained his personal information. The driver's license featured a photo of the thief.

Carlos said he now has a Hawk fraud security alert on his credit bureau accounts. Carlos said police arrested the thief for fraud. Carlos said consumers should routinely their bank accounts online daily to ensure no thief has accessed their money.


 

Lt. Mike, Houston

Houston police Lt. Mike was a victim of identity theft three times, when he was a sergeant assigned to the HPD Financial Crimes Unit, where he investigated identity theft cases.

Mike said someone opened an online trading account with his personal information and stole $10,000 from a university in an online transaction under his name. Mike said they caught the thief before he could withdraw the money. It was tough at first for Mike to prove he was not a thief.

Mike said an investigation finally determined that his personal information had been stolen from his father's employer database. Mike said that as a child, his personal information was listed in the human resources files for insurance coverage purposes. Mike said his stolen personal information was sold.

Mike said an ID thief established a second trading account in his name in mid-summer 2005 and a third trading account was started in his name at the end of 2005. Mike said he learned about the second and third accounts when he received letters from companies thanking him for opening up the accounts. Mike said that after the first episode, he put a fraud alert on his credit bureau accounts and said his credit was not ruined.


 

Katherine, Austin

The 87-year-old widow of a former state representative, Katherine, says an ID thief charged $70,000 on various accounts the thief opened in the widow's name. Katherine said one of the creditors said she owed $12,000 on a Platinum Visa Card.

Katherine said another creditor threatened to repossess her Toyota for non-payment on a loan for the vehicle. Katherine said she told the lien holder to repossess it since she didn't own such a vehicle.

Katherine said she believes a 24-year-old woman was behind the ID thief. She said the thief briefly lived in the same apartment complex as she does.

Katherine said the thief also attempted to obtain a Sallie Mae student loan using the stolen personal information. Katherine said AT&T billed her for $277 she didn't owe, also the handy work of the ID thief.

Katherine said she filed an ID theft complaint with the police department. She said that prior to retirement; she worked for 16-years as a senior accountant-auditor in the state comptroller's office.


 

Mike, Houston

Houston veterinarian Mike became a victim of identity theft when an employee at a bank sold his personal information to an identity theft ring.

Mike said he established a $90,000 line of credit, as an extra line of protection in case he needed it for business purposes. He said the bank supplied him with checks for the line of credit. He put the checks in a filing cabinet at home and thought nothing of them until the bank called to ask why he was late on his first monthly payment on the $86,000 he had used from the line of credit. Mike said he told them he hadn't used the line of credit at all.

Mike said they investigated and found that an identity theft ring had obtained his line of credit account number and account information of other customers and stole $12 million dollars through phony checks written on the accounts.