Identity thieves explain how they commit crimes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Identity thieves explain how they commit crimes

(WMC-TV) - You frequently hear nightmare stories from victims of identity theft, but now two women who made a career out of stealing identities are explain exactly how they did it.

Cheryl Thrasher emptied bank accounts for a small crime ring while Tiffany Andra did it to get drugs.

They're only two of thousands of inmates who are currently behind bars for stealing identities.

Meanwhile, millions of people like Bonnie Hoag are victims who get hit every year.

Hoag said she called banks and let them know she had been a victim of identity theft and closed accounts.

But Cheryl Thrasher says that doesn't matter.

She's also not surprised that even though the banks were notified after Bonnie's wallet was stolen, a woman was able to use her ID to clean out accounts at two different banks.

"You basically try to find a teller that looks young, you know, just starting or whatever," Thrasher said.

Cheryl said the secret is distracting those tellers with friendly conversation.

It's something she says every identity thief knows.

But that's not the only common trick.

"If you go more towards the end of the day, you know they're not really paying attention," she said. "They're just doing the transaction."

It's something identity thieves count on and something the woman who cleaned out Bonnie Hoag's accounts likely knew too.

"The teller called me one day," Hoag said. "She's like ‘Were you just in here? I said ‘Absolutely not. You need to go catch her!' She said ‘Oh, we just closed!' She said she came in two minutes before closing and when we tried to ask her another question, she got skittish and ran out."

Thrasher said thieves don't always work alone.

When she was stealing money, she said she often had help from the inside.

"They had told me who to go to," she said. "So that's who I went to"

When she didn't have an inside man, Thrasher said she was taught well-known workarounds for everything from passwords to fingerprints.

"They would use like super glue, liquid bandage," she said. "They would put it on their fingers and wait for it to dry just a little bit and then like put it to somebody (else's hands) and that's how they would get a new set of prints."

Tiffany Andra said what's more important than how crooks steal your money is how they steal your identity to begin with.

"People dig in dumpsters or they may break into houses or cars and then they may know somebody, ‘Hey this looks like so and so," Andra said.

Cheryl said the most common place to have your identity stolen is right in your front yard.

"Don't put your outgoing mail in the mailbox at night ever," she said. "You know if they see a flag up, it's gone."

The identity thieves also suggest banks use real-time fingerprint verification along with employee background and drug tests.

As for the woman who was caught on camera withdrawing money from Bonnie Hoag's bank, she has not been charged with any crime because police haven't identified her.

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Identity thieves explain how they commit crimes
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