Wanted: Man stealing identities - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wanted: Man stealing identities

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January 4, 2004

Albany - It's one of the most common crimes and you may be a victim, without even knowing it. We're talking about identity theft.

Albany Police are looking for a man who used his own picture, but someone else's social security number and name to make an ID card to get cash. The victim, from Atlanta, doesn't even know yet. Lt. Tracey Barnes says, "We are trying to contact him at this time."

The man tried to cash a fake payroll check worth $488.32 at Harveys Supermarket in East Albany, but failed. Employees were suspicious, it didn't look like all the others.

Harveys employees did the right thing, they refused to give the suspicious payroll check and ID back to the man, giving police a great lead, a picture ID.

Barnes adds, "They [Harveys] held onto the identification."

And Harveys held onto their money too. Barnes says, "Generally it's the business that cashes the check."

So, the businesses need to know the red flags. You can find one clue, or lack thereof, on the back. Barnes explains, "States will generally print on the back some kind of information, it won't be just a blank back as we have here."

And to protect yourself, shred paperwork that shows your social security number and account numbers. Barnes advises, "Never put your social security number down as your driver's license number and if you have that make sure you get that changed."

All a person needs is your number, name, a computer and printer to steal your identity.

If caught the man will be charged with identity fraud and forgery. To stop him now, call the Albany Police Department.

Police say to check your credit history often for unusual activity.

If you're a store owner, ask for several forms of identification before cashing checks.

posted at 6:10PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com