Putnam County Sheriff's investigators are pursuing a recent case of identity theft involving a woman who allegedly applied for a credit card using someone else's name and then racked up more than $8,000 in charges.
Angel Mason-Murdock, 25, Plainfield, was arrested and placed in the Putnam County Jail earlier this week and was charged with identity theft.
According to a deputy's case report, Murdock used her uncle's name and social security number to apply for a Bank of America credit card and then had the card mailed to a Bargersville post office box so as not to arouse suspicion.
Murdock's uncle is a resident of Putnam County and owned a car sales lot where Angel worked for a period of time in 2005, according to the report. It was at that time that investigators believe Murdock had access to her uncle's personal information and was able to apply for the credit card.
The victim told police he had received several telephone calls from the credit card company recently, telling him he had an outstanding balance of $8,000 on his card. He denied ever applying for the card and upon questioning the bank, was able to learn that his niece had applied for the card in his name and included herself as an authorized user.
Sheriff's detectives Mike Biggs and Pat McFadden went to Bargersville in late January where they learned from Johnson County authorities that Murdock had been arrested and charged there with identity theft in September of 2005. She is currently on probation in that case, according to the deputy's report.
Cases of identity theft are frequent across the country and have even been seen locally in increased numbers.
Only a few months ago, an elderly Putnam County woman was victimized by a man who entered her home under false pretenses and allegedly made off with her credit card, using it to buy a large screen television and other items without her knowledge.
Fortunately, detectives from the Indiana State Police were able to apprehend the accused thief, 28-year-old Zachary Gootee of Putnam County, based on video surveillance taken from department stores where Gootee shopped with the stolen credit card.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are several things you can do in the event that you become the victim of identity theft:
-- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before opening any new accounts.
-- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
-- File your complaint with the FTC.
-- File a report with your local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place. Give the police a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form. Get a copy of the police report (or, at least, the police report number).
More information and an FTC complaint form is available on the FTC website, www.ftc.gov/ bcp/edu/microsites/ idtheft.