LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A warning for consumers during the holiday season, and every other time of the year, identity thieves would love to use your name to get a few credit cards, and then go on a shopping spree. It happened to one small business owner and the toll was enormous.
Hong Fang fell victim to the scam artists who stole her identity on two separate occasions. The scammers opened up several credit cards in Fang's name, destroying her credit.
To the scammers she sends this message, "You ruined my life, you ruined your own life."
Before she fell victim to the scams, Fang says her credit score was over 800. After the second attack, it dropped to 200.
"No credit card company wanted to open account with me," says Fang.
The scam even impacted her trucking businesses.
"One time I went to a gas station and tried to get gas and credit card denied it," she explains.
And Fang isn't the only victim. In fact, in this case alone police have identified at least 25 victims.
According to Dominick Riley, a US postal inspector, the scammer would get a target's personal information and then attempt to open a credit card by calling the company and claiming he was the authorized user. The scammer would then claim he needed the card sent to his address.
Police say one way to avoid falling victim to a similar scam is to never release personal information over the phone. Police say you should also check your credit card statements often to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
When it was all said it done, it may be hard to truly understand how much Fang lost in the scam. She claims it was at least $20,000 to $30,000.
Police say the conman in this case is a repeat offender, with four arrests for identity theft or fraud. Even prison time didn't stop him. While behind bars, the scammer was opening up more credit cards in Fang's name.