Identity theft is bad enough if it happens once, but one woman was victimized twice.
"It's an ongoing thing," says Maria Chen, a fraud victim. "They steal your identity. It destroys your life."
Maria Chen knows her identity was stolen online and the suspect literally took everything.
"He had withdrawn all of my money out of the bank and opened up credit cards in my name," says Chen.
Maria's bank alerted her. When she found out, her money was gone, her credit was destroyed, and she was angry.
"My credit is still messed up because of him," says Chen.
Maria immediately went to police, who were able to track down the suspect and arrest him. She also put alerts on her accounts, but when the suspect got out of jail, he was able to use her personal information yet again.
"The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims," says Carla Menendez, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
And once they do that, they essentially can get access to your credit card account. They can add themselves as users, get their own card with their name on it, and start charging on your account. The vicious cycle starts all over again.
Postal inspectors say to safeguard your personal information at all times.
"One thing we always recommend is to check your credit once a year to make sure no fraudulent activity has happened," says Menendez.
"I've been trying to get my life back again so I can continue on, but it's been very hard," says Chen.
Also, never carry your social security number with you. Leave it at home in a safe place.
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