Man buys stolen identity off Craigslist to purchase car, police say

Updated: Dec. 15, 2019 at 10:09 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Experts say identity thieves get more active during the holiday season as people shop for their loved ones.

This weekend, one man was arrested in Memphis for allegedly using a stolen identity to try to buy a car.

Memphis Police say 38-year-old Bobby Pruitt tried to drive off the Gwatney car lot on Covington Pike in a new car. Instead he was driven straight to jail.

According to a police report, Pruitt submitted an application online using a different name and social security number attempting to buy a 2018 Toyota Camry, valued at nearly $18,000.

When Pruitt came to the lot and presented an Illinois drivers license, an employee was suspicious and called police.

“This time of year, there's a lot more fraud on both the consumer side and business side going on. And businesses need to be a lot more diligent,” said Randy Hutchinson, Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South President.

In custody, investigators say Pruitt admitted to purchasing the identity off the website Craigslist.

“Craigslist is a legitimate website, but it is a hot bed of scams. Phony job listings, phony listings for rental properties, this time of year people will even find phony listings for puppies,” said Hutchinson.

Randy Hutchinson, President of Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South, says if you plan to do holiday shopping online or on your mobile device, make sure you buy off a reputable website.

“Really two things come to mind that you need to be particularly careful about: Phony websites that may look like the real thing, the URL may be almost exactly the same. And then, another scam that picks up this time of year is people get an email, phishing email that says oh there’s a problem with the FedEx or UPS delivery. Just clicking on the link or attachment can download malware,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson says it's important to check your credit score often, but especially during the holidays.

And if you are shopping online, make sure to use a credit card. The federal government provides more protection for purchases using a credit card.

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