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HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Suffolk County police have charged 13 people and three corporations in an identity theft ring.

According to District Attorney Tim Sini, the victims were all children and it’s unlikely that their parents had any idea until the 13 individuals were arrested and charged in Suffolk County.

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Sini says the group worked to steal the social security numbers of children and would then open multiple credit cards in their names. In total, the group generated $1 million in loans and credit.

“With the stolen social security numbers, the defendants that are charged in this indictment would use their name and date of birth and typically the address would be a random address selected here in Suffolk County,” explained Sini.

Sini says the false identities are known as “synthetic identities” as they use a combination of real social security numbers with fake names and addresses.

The DA notes that the ring was a nationwide scheme, with the ringleader living in California. Nationwide, the losses totaled $100 million.

“It’s a 108-count indictment and certainly it is the first of its kind here in Suffolk County,” Sini said.

The DA’s office is advising residents to freeze their credit to protect themselves and their children. He notes that parents should frequently check their children’s credit scores to ensure no one is using their social security number maliciously.

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