Identity thieves steal $36,000 from Indianapolis woman

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Identity thieves stole tens of thousands of dollars from an Indianapolis woman.

During the hustle and bustle of a recent family trip to New Jersey, someone stole the 73-year-old woman’s wallet.

“When we got home, I went to get my wallet and my wallet was missing,” said the victim, who asked not to be identified.

The stolen wallet then gave the criminals access to the victim’s credit cards, drivers license and social security number. Within minutes, hundreds of dollars were run up on that woman’s credit, so she quickly canceled her cards.

Unfortunately, over the next couple of weeks the victim got four letters in the mail after the thief opened new credit cards and a new Medicare card using her information.

“I started getting letters from different charge cards saying you’ve been approved and you’ll receive your card,” said the victim.

To make matters worse, the thieves then electronically accessed the woman’s bank information and the theft took a high-dollar turn.

“$36,000 was transferred from my savings to my checking account and then to a Discover card and I don’t have a Discover card,” said the victim.

“Sometimes it can take months or years to unwind that,” said Tim Maniscalo, with the Better Business Bureau.

Maniscalo says identity theft leading to fraud is more common than ever.

Last year, the Indiana Attorney General’s office launched a campaign to prevent ID theft called  “Freeze Identity Thieves.”  In short, people can freeze their credit report.

“What that will do is prevent anybody from getting into your report and establishing credit card or taking out a loan on your behalf,” said Maniscalo.

“It’s very frustrating and upsetting someone would steal from you this way,” said the victim.

While dealing with ID theft is a huge headache, the victim in this case hopes others learn from the story.

“It’s been hectic.  Nightmare is a good word,” said the victim.

Luckily, the victim says her bank told her they should be able to reimburse her stolen money, but that will take time.

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