Identity theft affects thousands of victims and costs billions of dollars to consumers and financial institutions every year. Although authorities can put a stop to many, sometimes it only takes a day for an identity thief to turn one stolen Social Security card into a multi-thousand dollar scheme.
According to the Cleveland Banner, Ricardo Dutrieculle and Melissa Hicks were pulled over for speeding, and when their car was inspected, an officer found a large amount of stolen personal information. "During the investigation, forms of identification for 60 different people were found consisting of 40 driver’s licenses and 24 Social Security cards. Detectives also found 45 prepaid VISA cards and numerous W-2’s from the Internal Revenue Service," Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement. Both were charged with a total of 120 counts of identity theft and the news source reports that Hicks' bond was posted at $600,000, however it was later reduced to $20,000. Dutrieculle's bond is set at $25,000. An individual's personal information can be obtained in a number of traditional or contemporary ways, such as purse and mail snatching, or phishing and phone scams. While the consumer has an obligation to protect their information and be sure it doesn't end up in the hands of a thief, financial institutions must also respond accordingly if a client's account is at risk.