|Published:||Dec 13, 2012 5:16 PM EST|
|Updated:||Dec 13, 2012 6:32 PM EST|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- During the holiday season and every other time of the year, there are identity thieves who would love to use your name to get a few credit cards and go on a shopping spree.
It only takes a few stolen identities or a couple of credit cards to launch a criminal shopping spree. It's what happened to one small business owner.
A small business owner had a crook steal her identity. He opened several credit cards and the toll on her business made her nearly close up shop.
"You ruined my life, you ruined your own life," said Hong Fang, fraud victim.
That's Fang's message to the scam artist who stole her identity two different times and opened up several credit cards in her name. It destroyed her credit.
"My credit score before was over 800. After he came after me, the one time the lowest was 200. No credit card company wanted to open account with me," said Fang.
And it impacted her trucking business.
"One time I went to a gas station and tried to get gas and credit card denied it," said Fang.
And Fang wasn't the only victim.
"This person would get people's information and then he would try to open up credit cards by calling the credit card company saying he was an authorized user and he needed the card sent to an address," said Dominick Riley, U.S. Postal Inspector.
The number of victims in this case was 25. Dollars stoen from Fang's credit card along was
"At least $20,000 to $30,000," said Fang.
One way to avoid falling victim to a scam like this one is do what Fang will do from now on.
"I won't release any of my personal information on the phone," said Fang.
Another piece of advice is to check your credit card statements often. If you don't, you could become a victim of identity theft.
"It's terrible. It's a nightmare," said Fang.
In this case, the conman is a repeat offender. He's had four arrests for identity theft or fraud. Even prison time didn't stop him. Behind bars even, he was opening credit cards.