In a win for the good guys, the New York State Police Department has busted an identity theft ring which has been responsible for stealing over 180 people’s store credit accounts across consumer retail outlets like Home Depot, Sears, Kmart, Kohl’s and others. These thieves were able to make purchases at these stores and then resell the goods and gift cards to make a major profit. The ring even went so far as to manufacture driver’s licenses in the names of the stolen identities so that people were able to go into the stores to “identify” themselves. It’s a very well thought out scheme…you can definitely tell that these seven people were serious about their thieving. The arrests are meant to send a clear message to identity thieves everywhere that they can’t get away with this sort of thing.
According to reports, the seven arrested were: “Phillip Smith, the ring’s leader; Melissa Morton, who allegedly impersonated female identity theft victims; Mahmoud Abdul Hussein, Ali Abdul Hussein, and Fadal Abdul Hussein – three brothers who allegedly manufactured fake driver’s licenses out of their storefront smoke shops in Greenwich Village – and Francis Hidalgo and Randy White, who are alleged to have resold the illegally obtained store credits or used them to buy material for their businesses.”
In total, the thieves took identities from over 180 people all located in New York, and spent approximately $1 million over these credit cards. This is a great reminder to all of you that even though we all think we’ve taken necessary precautions—you can never be too safe. This applies to your home safety, to your credit card use, and to the reminder that we all need to be cautious in this new year.