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Deputies look into two cases of identity theft

Official says it can take about 58 hours to clear up ensuing credit problems

Posted: June 15, 2014 9:39 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 9:39 p.m.

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 AT&T 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 AT&T 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.”




NotSoAwesomeTown: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:32 p.m.

Why is this news? Last year someone stole my identity and activated THREE iPhones with AT&T at the Walmart on Kelly Johnson. I didn't find out until AT&T billed me for $1200.00. I reported it to the Sheriff's department, but let me tell you - if this happens to you, you're on your own. I had to do all the leg work on this. Initially AT&T did not accept this as a fraud case, and didn't care that I'd reported it to the sheriff's department. (I believe their exact words were "ANYONE can file a police report.) I had to harass the people at Walmart to investigate. The original contract was pulled (gee, not my handwriting) and surveillance tapes were reviewed. The only thing that saved me was the person who used my name and information was not the same sex as me. Quite frankly, to this day I don't know why the person at Walmart just accepted my information given the fact that I have a very sex-indicative name, and it was obvious the person using it was NOT the right sex.

Long story short - if this happens to you, don't just report it to the sheriff's department and expect anything to be done about it. You have to be persistent and do the investigating yourself.

Bobs: Posted: June 16, 2014 4:16 p.m.

Same thing happened to me. I don't know how the other carriers stack up, but I used to be with AT&T and they were not helpful, and not logical. It took a LOT of work to clear it up.

One day I got a cell bill for $2500. When I called AT&T they said I opened 10 new lines (all in Compton, CA). I told them it wasn't me and they argued with me "well it shows you called in yesterday". I never called you before. "Yes you did". Worst part, they shut my phone down for non-payment, while continuing to allow new lines to be added. It was over 15 lines and a $10K bill.

I finally cleared it up after a long battle. Needless to say you couldn't pay me to use AT&T again.

NotSoAwesomeTown: Posted: June 16, 2014 7:18 p.m.

I'm with Verizon and was when this happened. AT&T still insisted I was responsible for the bill. I'll never use AT&T because of this.

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