D.A. issues warnings about identity theft and fraud

Published: Jul. 4, 2016 at 7:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2016 at 1:31 AM EDT
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D. A. Greg Edwards (WALB image)
D. A. Greg Edwards (WALB image)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Identity theft continues to be one of the biggest crime problems in South Georgia and across the nation.

Three Dougherty County men and women were indicted last week for identity theft crimes, and the District Attorney recommends people take steps to protect themselves.

Kenneth Lyles was indicted on 6 counts of financial transaction card fraud.

Prosecutors said that Lyles took debit cards from a Dougherty County woman and other personal information, and was able to empty hundreds of dollars from her accounts because he figured out her passwords.

The District Attorney said the people should make sure they use passwords that are not easily hacked.

"Try to determine a password or PIN number's that you can remember, but are going to be extremely unique to you. That will help deter again persons stealing your information and hacking in because you made it so easy because the passwords are very easy!" said Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.

Also indicted on identity fraud charges were Reginald Span and Angela Jones. Both were stopped for traffic violations, and lied to police, giving them relatives names.

"About 90 percent of these identity theft cases involve relatives," said Edwards.

Prosecutors said that they know you want to trust your family, but recommend you protect your information.

"You should keep your personal information, your identifying information, your financial information personal to you," explained Edwards. "Unless there is an absolute need to know."

Identity theft continues to be one of the most widespread crime problems across the United States.

The District Attorney said making up good passwords and keeping all your financial and personal information locked away from even relatives are good ways to protect your identity and your property.

In Georgia, identity fraud convictions are punishable by prison sentences of one to 10 years.

Financial transaction card frauds involving more than $100 are felonies, and punishable by one to three years in prison.

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