Experts highlight ID theft suspects

HOUSTON Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes across the US. That's one reason why Capital One Bank, Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department have teamed up to show the public how big this problem is. This awareness campaign will feature another identity theft suspect each day.

In the first case to be highlighted, multiple victims' credit card and personal information are stolen and then used to withdraw large amounts of funds from the victim's bank accounts throughout the Houston area.

These suspects are working with multiple accomplices that steal wallets out of the victims' purses at restaurants. Once the suspect steals the wallets, they pass the information to their accomplice and the accomplice then goes to the bank and impersonates the victim and withdraws large amount of funds from the victim's account.

On November 26, 2010, the suspect stole a wallet from the purse of a 47-year-old female victim that was hung on the back of a chair at a local restaurant in the 7000 block of F.M. 1960 West. The stolen wallet contained credit cards, identification and a check book. The unknown person went to several local retailers and made purchases on the stolen credit card.

On December 28, 2010, a person went to a local bank in the 7000 block of Highway 6 North and made a withdrawal from the victim's bank account.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspects in this case.

Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

Residents are cautioned to use common sense and pay attention to their surroundings as identity theft can happen quickly, even in plain sight.

"It really comes down to three things -- secure, shred and save," said Katherine Cabaniss with Crime Stoppers of Houston. "Secure your identification information. Save your passwords and don't let anyone know them. Have a different password for every account that you have."

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