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Recent Case Shows Ease of Committing Identity Fraud

Recent Case Shows Ease of Committing Identity Fraud

Posted - Oct. 6, 2003 at 4:24 p.m.



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Sandra Yi ReportingA recent case shows how surprisingly easy it can be for someone to steal your identity. Salt Lake County authorities are still trying to get in touch with the victims of a sophisticated fraud operation, we told you about last week.

Recent Case Shows Ease of Committing Identity Fraud

Being a victim of fraud may be easier than you think. In fact one Salt Lake County Sergeant says he's hesitant to write a check in a restaurant, because you never know who may watching.

Sgt. Darren Carr: "You can be a victim without even knowing at the time that you're a victim."

It was a surprise to one woman, whose account number was stolen and used.

Sgt. Darren Carr: "When we call her back, she says, 'No my car hasn't been broken into, my checkbook is here', but when you do a comparison of checks, you can tell it's been manufactured. The check numbers don't match nor does the check stock match."

Authorities say it only takes someone's account number to make a fake check and a little personal information to steal someone's identity. Evidence from one fraud operation uncovered by investigators last week includes dozens of fake drivers' licenses, stolen checks, even car titles. Investigators say there are 86 different names -- 86 possible victims.

The suspect, Suzanne Seeley, has been arrested. Authorities say she also made fake IDs and checks for other people.

Sgt. Darren Carr: "It's becoming more and more common because I think our ability to manufacture them is becoming easier and more people are learning how."

Sergeant Carr says there may be many more fraud victims out there, unaware that their personal information may not be so private. Carr says no one should leave any personal information in their car. He suggests putting a lock on your mailbox and shredding documents. But most importantly...

Sgt. Darren Carr: "Always check your checking account and credit card accounts when they come in the mail. Just don't pay them blindly. Make sure you pay attention to each and every charge."

What's disturbing is, even with 86 possible victims, Sergeant Carr says, the fraud operation busted last week is only a medium sized one. The suspect, Suzanne Seeley, is in jail and faces fraud and forgery charges.

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