Andy's Got Your Back on ID theft through rental applications - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on ID theft through rental applications

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(WMC TV) - Here's something I bet you didn't know might be an identity theft risk:  a rental application.

U.S. postal inspectors and the Justice Department are working a case in which each of the victims were renters who filled out applications at the same apartment complex.

"Somebody who worked for the apartment management complex was able to obtain copies of their drivers licenses," said U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez.

The identity thief then applied for student loans with the victims' birth dates and Social Security numbers.

"(The loans) ranged from $25,000 and up," Alvarez said.

Postal inspectors got on the case because the checks were mailed to vacant houses. The thief hired accomplices to pick up the checks at the abandoned homes, then cash the checks at multiple banks.

"The victims in this case had a difficult time fixing their credit," she said. "It's a lengthy process."

Be careful what you put on a rental application. Refuse any request to put your Social Security number, birth date or driver's license in writing without an acceptable explanation for its use (credit check, etc.).

Check your credit report at least once a year from each of the three credit bureaus at Make sure no one has stolen your identity or taken out loans or credit cards in your name.

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