Update: Teen charged with multiple counts of identity theft
Update: WALB has new information from APD on how a high school student stole several students identities
Valerie Thomas, the principal at Monroe Comprehensive High School told police that Earnest Lee Williams had copied 76 students names with their social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth, parents names and telephone numbers on three sheets of tablet paper.
While being question by officers Williams retrieved 68 blue emergency cards out of a book bag.
Williams was taken into custody along with the emergency cards to the Albany Police Department and the investigation was turned over to Assistant Chief Julius Phillips for further investigation
A warning tonight for parents after a teenager is charged with dozens of counts of identity theft. WALB News Ten learned personal information from at least one Dougherty County High School has been compromised.
We believe that information includes social security numbers.
The school system refuses to talk to us about what happened. But we know at least one Monroe High School Student is charged with more than 70 counts of identity theft and one count of burglary.
Both the school police and administration are being tight lipped about how and why the information was taken and all they'll say is this remain an open and active investigation.
This is the scene of the crime. Monroe High School. WALB has learned from school officials an investigation has been going on for some time into school records that were compromised.
School Police arrested 17-year-old Earnest Williams last Monday charging him with 76 counts of identity theft and one count of burglary.
A source told WALB News Williams had been working in the office giving him access to records containing personal information including social security numbers.
They also say those records may have been used to file fraudulent tax returns. When we questioned school officials, they refused to answer our questions and would not comment on their investigation.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. Thieves can use your social security number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name.
Then, they use the credit cards and don't pay the bills. You may not find out that someone is using your number until you are turned down for credit or you begin to get calls from unknown creditors demanding payment for items you never bought. No one is safe both adults and children have been targeted.
"This is the day and age of identity theft and everybody has to be protected. Protect your children too because thieves are stealing children's social security numbers so they can use them as deductions," said Captain Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.
The IRS says they're dealing with more theft affidavit forms from those who've had false returns filed using their information.
Investigators say if you suspect someone else is using your number for work purposes, you should contact The Social Security Administration to report the problem.
We have filed an open records request with the school system for the incident report in an effort to learn more about this crime. We'll update this story as soon as we receive that information.
Identity theft with tax returns has surged with the increase of e-filers.
The IRS estimates more than 400,000 people have been victimized by identity theft tax fraud in the last year and a half.
Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.
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