Consumer Alert: Beware of identity thieves in unusual places

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Identity theft can happen anywhere, even in places where you would expect your personal information to be safe.

Beverly Tiernan was in a hospital emergency room being treated for injuries suffered in a car accident.

"A woman behind the desk asked me for my social security, my generation gives that freely; especially in a safe place like a hospital," Tiernan says. "Little did I know that in a few months I would find out that she was giving my social security number, along with many other people's, to a bad ring of ID theft."

"The number of actual victims: 332 victims. Their Identities had been compromised," says U.S. Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez.

Tiernan realized she was a victim when her husband tried to access her bank account.

"They told him my account had been compromised," Tiernan says.

The identity thieves began withdrawing money using her identity. They had created 11 separate accounts in her name.

"Overall loss was about $631 thousand dollars," Ramirez says.

"There are a lot of people who work very hard for their money and do it in an honest way. It's very hard when it's taken from you in that way," Tiernan says.

Tiernan got all her money back, but not all victims did. Postal inspectors say the hospital employee was selling patients' information in the identity theft ring. She was one of five people arrested in the scheme.

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