Deputies look into two cases of identity theft

Detectives are investigating two recent reports of identity theft whereby thieves used personal information stolen from Santa Claria Valley residents to buy unapproved items, according to incidents reported by deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

On June 7, a Castaic man who lives on Bridlewood Drive phoned the sheriff’s station to report someone had used his personal information to purchase a cell phone from an unknown ATT location, according to the report filed by the responding deputy.

The victim contacted the sheriff’s deputies after he was contacted by a collections agency demanding $161.10 for an ATT account that was not his.

The account was opened March 20, 2013 and remained active until Aug. 22, 2013, all of which was unknown to the Castaic man.

In a second and unrelated incident, a 61-year-old retiree who lives on Brooks Circle in Stevenson Ranch phoned deputies after someone tried to open a Discover credit card account using his personal information.

“The victim stated that persons unknown opened an account using his personal information such as a social security number, birth date and name without his knowledge,” the responding deputy reported.

The retiree discovered the crime on June 4 when he received a letter from Discover indicating an application had been received, he said.

Deputies advised the man to close the account and notify the credit reporting agencies regarding the incident.

Sgt. Josh Manki, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, appears in an informational video placed on the sheriff’s website, warning people about identity theft.

“Nationwide there were approximately 12 million identities stolen in 2011 which is a 13 percent increase over 2010,” Manki says in the clip.

“These numbers are kind of staggering,” he said. “And, it’s on the increase.”

It takes the average victim of identity theft about 58 hours to clear up their credit, Manki notes in the video, noting that correcting the damage done by identity theft is “pretty complicated.”



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