Archive for January, 2015

Reward offered for identity theft suspect

Saturday, January 31st, 2015


Harris County deputies are searching for a female suspect wanted for identity theft.

Deputies said a report was made on Dec. 2, 2014, claiming someone used their information to open credit card accounts.  

The suspect used those credit cards to buy items at several retailers in the area. 

Surveillance video caught the female suspect at one of the stores as she was walking around inside.

The suspect is described as a black female with long, straight, brown hair. 

Crime Stoppers is now using that video to offer a reward up to $5,000 for any information leading to her arrest. Anyone with information about this suspect is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. 

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ID theft suspect seen pushing stroller filled with packages – KTRK

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Newly-released surveillance video of an identity theft suspect shows a woman shopping, pushing what looks to be a stroller filled to the brim with packages.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public to come forward to identify her after residents in the 5900 block of Theall Road reported that someone used their identification information to open several unauthorized credit card accounts.

Authorities say the suspect – described as a black woman with long, straight brown hair — then used those accounts to make purchases at several retailers.

Anyone with information about this suspect is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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Former Detroit Officer Sentenced In Identity Theft Case

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

DETROIT (WWJ) — A former Detroit police officer will spend up to 20 years in prison in an identity theft case.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette said 41-year-old Tamboura Jackson of Clinton Township was convicted of in December and sentenced this week for racketeering, forgery and bribery. Authorities say cash bribes were used to get fraudulent police reports on credit card transactions to help improve credit scores for clients of a consulting company.

Schuette said that public officers who abuse the public’s trust for personal gain greatly undermine the integrity of law enforcement.

Jackson was paid $50 to $100 to submit fake identity theft reports were filed without the knowledge of the company’s clients. He also used the scam to improve his own credit score.

Company owner Lisa Curtis pleaded guilty in October to bribery and was sentenced to two years of probation.

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For first time, SC parents can protect kids from identity theft

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – For the first time in South Carolina history, parents have the power to freeze their child’s credit report thereby protecting them from the daunting threat of child identity theft.

“A lot of times children won’t realize their identity has been stolen until they are 18 and they are applying for a loan for their first car or to go to school,” said Juliana Harris, a representative for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.

On Jan. 1, a state law went into effect which allows consumers to create and freeze a credit file for a minor or an incapacitated adult if you are their guardian.

The legislation comes two years after 3.8 million tax returns were hacked from the state database and compromised.

“Dependent information was included on those tax returns that were compromised,” said Harris. “That’s a great way to deter against identity theft.”

Three companies offer credit freezing: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Equifax and TransUnion offer an automated phone line for service. Experian has an online tool that can be used.

Here’s what the Department of Consumer Affairs says every consumer needs to know.

When a security freeze is in place, a business that receives an application for products or services cannot get access to your credit report without your permission.

The freeze will not affect your ability to pull your own credit report or receive credit monitoring services. Businesses you currently have a relationship with can still access your report.

To place a freeze you must contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies. When you place the freeze, you will receive a Personal Identification Number. When you want to apply for new products or services, the PIN will be required to temporarily lift, or thaw, the freeze either for a specified creditor or a specified time.

The PIN is also needed to permanently remove the freeze. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.

It is free to place, thaw and lift the freeze for South Carolinians.

“I’m grateful that legislators are paying attention to the things that parents don’t ordinarily have to think about,” said Heather Jones, mom of two who plans to freeze her kids’ credit reports.

Harris reiterates how important it is to keep all the information pertaining to the freeze. She says to make sure all information is safely accessible.

To find out more information on how to place, thaw or life a security freeze, click here.

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3 Ways Identity Theft Can Affect Car Buyers

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Identity Theft

January 30, 2015 by Kelly Santos


With good credit, buying a big-ticket purchase like a car should be a smooth process. However, if car buyers are victim to identity theft scams, they may struggle with getting the vehicle they originally had their eyes on.

While car thieves could steal a vehicle worth thousands of dollars, identity thieves could do more serious financial damage.

In May 2014, the FBI announced that it had charged members of an international identity theft ring that stole dozens of vehicles using their victims’ information.

“These charges are the first strike back on behalf of identity theft victims who now have to reclaim their good names – a frustrating task that can take years,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement.

As victims attempt to rebuild their lives and move on from identity theft, they should be aware of the consequences of this crime when it comes to buying a car and how to protect themselves in the future.

Here are three effects of identity theft for car buyers.

1. Poor Credit

When identity thieves are through using your credit card or even applying for new lines of credit, blemishes on your credit history might result in a poor credit score. You could spend time and resources trying to challenge these negative marks on your credit score. This could leave you with less money to buy your dream car.

2. Loan Rejection

One of the worst-case scenarios for purchasing a car is getting rejected for a loan. With a low credit score, you might not be approved for a loan because creditors see you as too much of a risk based on your credit report.

3. Higher Interest

Although your credit score might not be low enough to get rejected, the interest rate for the loan could be higher than you anticipated. Car buyers with bad credit can expect to pay up to 18% interest in California, according to Edmunds. With a higher interest rate, this could mean more money spent on monthly payments for the car.

Since you can become a victim of identity theft without knowing it, it’s important to review your credit reports for any suspicious activity — you can get your credit reports for free once a year from, and can get your credit scores for free every month on You can also work to avoid identity theft by guarding your personal information online and over the phone, only giving it to authorized people or those you contact first.

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Police say North Liberty woman attempted to plant evidence in identity theft case

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

IOWA COUNTY — A North Liberty woman is accused of entering an Iowa County residence in order to plant evidence that would exonerate her from identity theft charges.

According to the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office, 46-year-old Cheri Sells was arrested in North Liberty on Thursday. However, Iowa County Lt. Tim Walters said Sells “fell ill” at the time of her arrest and was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment. Walters said Friday he did not know if Sells had been booked at the Johnson County Jail yet.

The investigation into Sells goes back until at least November 2014. She is accused of forging a check on Nov. 20 for more than $1,000. Sells was arrested on Dec. 16 and charged with identity theft, a Class D felony. At that time, she was told to stay away from the victim and his family, Walters said. Sells later bonded out of jail.

Walters said a motor vehicle burglary was committed on Dec. 11, five days before Sells’ arrest. Financial documents were taken from the vehicle, which belonged to a relative of the identity theft victim, Walters said. Walters said he didn’t have enough evidence to arrest Sells in that case.

That changed on Jan. 24, when Sells allegedly entered an Iowa County residence and left items — which included the financial documents stolen in the vehicle burglary — in the home. The home belongs to another relative of the original identity theft victim.

Once those documents were recovered, Walters said he was able to connect Sells with the vehicle burglary.

“I didn’t have a good case for that until she committed this trespass, where she left items in that relatives house,” he said.

Though Sells illegally entered the home, because she did so without the intent to commit an assault, theft or felony, she will not face a burglary charge, Walters said. Additionally, while placing the items in the house represented an apparent attempt to clear her name, Walters said because she did not actually reach out to investigators, she will not face charges related to tampering with the case.

Walters said Sells had a romantic relationship with a relative in the family that has been victimized. He said he’s concerned that she has victimized another family. More charges are expected to be filed against her in other jurisdictions, though Walters said he could not comment on those investigations.

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Pilsen man charged with identify theft

Friday, January 30th, 2015

A Pilsen man was charged with identity theft and several other felony counts after police stopped him in traffic Tuesday.

Police arrested Andre West, 34, after they conducted a traffic stop in the 2400 block of West Van Buren Street and found a handgun in his vehicle , according to a statement from Chicago Police Department’s Office of News Affairs.

Police officers also had a search warrant for West’s residence in the 2500 block of West Flournoy Street and executed it around 8 p.m., according to the statement.

During the search, officers found five additional weapons, including a defaced firearm, over 20 grams of heroin, and various credit card counterfeiting devices and “numerous re-encoded or altered credit cards,” police said.

West was charged with credit or debit card counterfeit, identity theft, aggravated identity theft and possession of a “document making implement,” according to the statement. West was also cited for manufacturing or delivering heroin, possession of a defaced firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, the statement said.  

West is scheduled to appear in Cook County bond court Thursday. 

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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West Side man charged with identity theft, possession of heroin and firearms – WLS

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Andre West, 34, faces multiple felony weapons, drugs and identity theft charges after police allegedly found firearms, heroin and various credit card counterfeiting devices in his residence.

During a traffic stop in the 2400-block of W. Van Buren, police say they allegedly found a handgun in West’s vehicle.

On Tuesday, police executed a search warrant of his residence in the 2500-block of W. Flournoy. Police say they allegedly found five other weapons, over 20 grams of heroin, various credit card counterfeiting devices and encoded/altered credit cards.

West was taken into custody and is due in bond court Thursday.

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One sister arrested, one wanted for multiple identity thefts

Friday, January 30th, 2015
2015-01-29  Brittany Flynn West Haven Electric Theft
Brittany Flynn of West Haven is currently wanted by police. If you’ve seen her, you’re asked to call West Haven police at 203-937-3900. (Photo: West Haven police)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Tonya Flynn was arraigned Thursday in Milford Superior Court on multiple counts of identity theft, forgery, and larceny.

“They did a search warrant on the house, found multiple documents,” said West Haven Police Sgt. David Tammaro. “ID’s, blank checks, all kinds of info of other people who reported ID stolen.”

In court, her representative said that Flynn worked for Yale-New Haven Hospital for the past 11 years, but lost that job and is seeking an appeal in the matter.

“Some information was that some check’s were taken out of mailboxes,” said Tammaro. “Some victims were either former employers or employees with Tonya.”

The case began when United Illuminating got word of someone trying to open an account under a false name back in September. West Haven police investigated and eventually got a search warrant for Flynn’s West Haven apartment. They found the identity of possibly 15 other victims.

Police are actively searching for Flynn’s sister, Brittany Flynn, of New Haven. They say she is wanted in connection with the same crimes. If you see her, or know of her whereabouts, you’re asked to call West Haven police at 203-937-3900.

West Haven Police advise everyone to secure your personal information the best you can to avoid identity theft.

Tonya Flynn is being held on $80,000 bond.

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Federal grand jury indicts Cleveland man on identity theft charges

Friday, January 30th, 2015

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A man charged in May with using fake legal documents to try to take over a Cleveland Heights duplex faces similar charges in federal court.

Najee Muhammad, a Cleveland man who also goes by the name Paul Cook, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday and charged with racking up $31,762 on various credit accounts between June 2012 and May 2014. He is also accused of stealing the identity of three individuals.

Muhammad, 50, made the charges for products at Capital One, Dell, ATT, Galls, Citibank, Target and Dish Network, among others, according to the indictment.

He is charged with one count access device fraud and three counts aggravated identity theft.

Muhammad was charged in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court in May after he tried to file a fake legal document with the county fiscal office that said he owned a home. He also did the same thing for another home, court records show.

He pleaded guilty to reduced charges in September and was sentenced to probation in September. He was arrested again in November on a possible probation violation. 

A violation hearing is set for Feb. 23 in front of Common Pleas Judge Nancy Fuerst.

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