ID Thieves Love Purse Shopping: Feds - NBC 6 South Florida

ID Thieves Love Purse Shopping: Feds

Feds preach vigilence during Consumer Protection Week

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    A purse-snatching isn't just a isolated crime for a victim these days. It opens the door for that victim's identity and whole world to be turned upside down.

    "He snatched her purse then everything went downhill," Luticha Holmes said.

    Authorities claim suspect Tangela Smith became Luticha's grandmother - or at least the banks thought so.

    "And they went and opened an account in her name and took out 6,000 dollars and we had copies of how they did it," Luticha said.

    Bank survelliance video captured Smith, a woman decades younger than the mugging victim, heading to the ATM. Postal inspectors said in all, Smith stole more than $25,000 from the Holmes account.

    "We had elderly female victims strong armed robbed to get their purse," said Bladismir Rojo, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

    Many victims who lost not just money and their purses, but their identities. Their credit was used and Smith used the victim's identities to make stacks of gift cards, much easier for scammers to shop with.

    Holmes eventually straighted out the ID theft that happened to her grandmother, but it took months.