Emilia Varona had just returned from a trip to Spain when she found a disturbing letter in the mail.
"The envelope was from a law office in Boston, and it said that I owed $48,000 to the Suntrust Bank," Emilia said.
The debt was for a Lexus sports car purchased at a Davie dealership, but Emilia lives in Boston. She immediately checked her credit reports and found three fraudulent charges. She later found out all were made by a woman posing as her.
"She stole three sports cars using my credit. One was a Maserati, another one a BMW and another one a Lexus," she explained.
Emilia found out she owed more than $200,000 for luxury cars she never got to enjoy.
"My first thought was, I have bad luck," she joked.
After she got over the shock, Emilia logged onto identify theft website set up by the Federal Trade Commission to help Americans who fall victim to these types of crimes.
There, users can fill out their information and receive a recovery plan that tells them to contact creditors, notify the three credit bureaus and file a police report among other tips.
"You have to file fraud affidavits, you have to submit an identity theft report, proof of residence, your driver's license," Emilia said.
To file a local police report, Emilia flew to South Florida where the crime took place and the Davie Police Department opened an investigation.
"Unfortunately, because of the time delay, it was over seven months from the time the last vehicle was purchased and the time that the victim discovered it, video surveillance had already been lost," said Davie Police Detective Viviana Gallinal.
However, detectives were able to get a copy of the fake Massachusetts driver's license the suspect used to pose as Emilia when she purchased the three luxury vehicles.
"It had my date of birth, of course it did not have my face. She didn’t look at all like me," Emilia said.
Once it was concluded that Emilia was not the woman who purchased the cars, she was able to get two of the vehicles removed from her credit.
"Right now, my credit is free from TD Financial Services and BMW Financial Services but I still have this account from Suntrust," Emilia said. That's why she reached out to NBC6 Responds.
When NBC 6 Responds contacted Suntrust, they told us: "People should report suspicious activity as soon as possible to their financial institution as well as appropriate law enforcement."
Days later, Emilia received a letter from Suntrust saying they were contacting the three credit bureaus to delete the fraudulent transaction.
Police are actively searching for the woman who posed as Emilia. They believe she's not working alone.
Emilia says two of the cars the woman took were recovered, including the Maserati. After all she's been through, she still can laugh.
"I would love to have that Maserati as a little gift for all my suffering," she joked.
The car dealers that sold the three luxury vehicles cooperated with police by giving them the copy of that fake driver's license. Police say to avoid these unpleasant surprises, you should check your credit report often. You can get a free report every year on the Annual Credit Report website.