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Charges: Fast food drive-thru workers ran identity theft operation

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Two Woodbury Burger King drive-thru workers are accused of using a customer's credit card to buy electronics, the Woodbury Bulletin reports.

Prechez Ariane Natira Anderson and Deantre Rickey-Rene Squalls are charged with using the victim's credit card to buy a nearly $700 TV at Wal-Mart, the paper reports. According to the criminal complaint, the two also tried to make about $2,800 worth of purchases on Apple.com.

The victim, according to FOX 9, had visited the Woodbury restaurant in March and forgotten to get her card back before leaving. She then noticed a purchase on her account that she didn't make, and police went to investigate, the station reports.

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According to FOX 9, police say they used surveillance camera footage to piece together the TV purchase, and later searched the hotel room where Anderson and Squalls were staying.

According to the criminal complaint, police found 17 Social Security cards, plus other forms of identifications, the Woodbury Bulletin reports.

Each is charged with one count of aiding and abetting financial card fraud.

Identity theft's impact

Direct and indirect losses from identity theft totaled $24.7 billion in 2012, the most recent year of data available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The 2012 report (which was released in December 2013) says about 16.6 million Americans age 16 or older were victims of identity theft that year. The most common for of ID theft involved existing bank or card information – thieves using those numbers to spend money.

Those who had personal information stolen, leading to the creation of new accounts, were the most likely to suffer financial and relationship problems and emotional distress, the bureau says.

According to Daily Finance, two-thirds of all identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. On average, the site said, those whose personal information was misused were hit with $9,650 in direct losses, with $1,900 being the median. For victims of fraud where a new account was opened, the average direct loss was $7,135, with $600 being the median.

The bureau says more than half of identity theft victims resolved their issues in a day or less. But of those who had personal information used, 29 percent spent at least a month fixing the problems.

The Federal Trade Commission offers a list of immediate steps to take if you're the victim of an identity theft. The agency also provides clues that your information may have been stolen, which include:

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

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