On some days, the anxiety and frustration caused she experienced after her identity was stolen left Ida in tears. She made endless phone calls to law enforcement agencies, banks and credit institutions, only to learn that a majority of them – including her local police department – couldn’t do a thing to help bring the crook to justice and stop the dozens of fraudulent credit card applications filed in Ida’s name from being approved.
The 61-year old Phoenix resident suspects that the identity thief called her posing as a representative from her bank. Using the information off of a banking statement stolen from her mailbox, the thief then began to “verify” private information on the account with Ida, who believed that the conversation was a legitimate phone call.
The thief then used the information Ida gave to apply for multiple credit cards and attempted to withdraw money from Ida’s bank account. Ida discovered the fraudulent activity and immediately placed a fraud alert on her credit files, and filed a police report with local authorities.
Ida was soon mortified to learn that the crook was able to access her fraud alert account online and switch the phone number to direct all inquiries to the thief’s personal residence. As a result, the fraud alerts didn’t stop new credit cards, made out in Ida’s name and with her personal information, from being delivered to a residential address less than a mile from her Phoenix home. The thief reportedly told the credit card companies that Ida had moved to the new location, and all new cards should be sent there.
When Ida tried to report what she discovered to local police, she found out that authorities had filed her case away and told her to speak with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for additional advice. The FTC told her it did not deal with individual cases.
“Nobody would help me, nobody,” recounts Ida. “I had [the crook’s] address and the police couldn’t go over there and do anything.”
Agitated from the inability for law enforcement to act, Ida marched down to the address that was listed on an eCommerce account application she obtained and was appalled to find mail with her name poking out of the mailbox at the home. The tenants that she confronted played dumb, claiming that whoever Ida was looking for no longer lived there.
Hopeful that she could find someone that could stop the relentless barrage of fraudulent cards and bring the neighborhood identity thief to justice, Ida went to the US Postal Inspection Service to report what she had learned. Instantly, the Postal Police stopped all pieces of mail with Ida’s name on it from being delivered to the address and along with local police, executed a search of the house where, according to Ida, they discovered bags of stolen mail and more victims of identity theft.
Ida says that federal authorities charged a woman living in the home with felony identity and credit theft. The alleged identity thief is awaiting a competency examination to determine if she is able to stand trial for her crimes.
For Ida, she wants the criminal to pay for the four months of misery she went through.
“This girl put me through hell for months,” says Ida. “It was so upsetting, it was like being raped every damn day, and you just couldn’t stop them.”