Mistaken Identities

Postal Inspectors provide these ID theft tips:

  1. Keep personal information private. Never give out personal information over the phone or online.
  2. Shred or otherwise destroy personal data, such as correspondence, statements, pre-approved offers, and bills. Don’t invite a “dumpster diver” to search your garbage.
  3. Safeguard your financial and credit information, and monitor its use.

Scheme Information

Mistaken Identities

Josh Abernathy

Katecha Thomas, a work/study student, worked in the HR Department which gave her access to all of the student records for the current students, past students and alumni. She attempted to open more than 100 credit card accounts... losses totaled $11,000.

Church Congregation Victimized by Scam Artist

One of her victims thought she had done everything to protect herself from identity theft. One day she received an alert on her account that she had applied for a credit card... but someone else had done it in her name.

Exotic Vacations taken by Scam Artist

At the same time that her identity was stolen, she had been receiving calls from the college she attended - asking for a donation and investigators found a link.

Today’s episode dealt with a scam involving a “fake” theft of a person’s identity. But identity theft is real and is still one of the fastest growing crimes, victimizing millions of Americans each year. With the Internet and so many other avenues to steal our personal information, total protection against ID theft is difficult. But there are some measures you can take to help reduce the risk of identity theft.

Keep your personal information private. Now that may sound like a “no-brainer,” but people still give out personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, over the phone and online to complete strangers. Don’t do it unless you initiated the call or email or know the people or group. Monitor your accounts. If you feel you are a victim, put a fraud alert on your accounts with the credit bureaus. Report ID fraud. Help us help you.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, report it at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or call us at 877-876-2455.