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New Jersey Identity Theft Victim Tracks Her Case To Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Identity theft can cause major problems, including credit troubles. One victim decided to take matters into her own hands and fight back.

A New Jersey woman tracked the person who stole her identity to Raleigh.

The identity theft victim, who does not want to be identified, victim spent months making phone calls, surfing the Internet, sending e-mail and collecting paperwork.

It's been unbelievable," the woman said. "It's a lot of phone calls, it's a lot of diligence. You have to be your own advocate. You have to get on the phone, you have to be pushy."

All of her hard work was aimed at tracking down Inetta Hinton. The woman said Hinton used her name to lease a north Raleigh apartment and to set up accounts with the phone and power companies.

The victim said she had no idea what was going on until someone at a Home Depot in Raleigh called her about an account opened up in her name.

"At the drop of a hat they walk into Home Depot and they spend $5,000. They walk into a furniture store, they spend $3,000 to $4,000 on couches, chairs. They try to go into a jewelry store and buy several thousand dollars worth of jewelry. This is all on my credit that I had worked very hard to make good," the victim said.

The woman said police in her area were not much help, but once she tracked the crimes to Raleigh, police here responded.

"Victims have to be active, because when their identity is taken over it generally just doesn't stop with one thing. It's something that follows them, sometimes for months, sometimes for years," said Sgt. Gary Hinnant, of the Raleigh Police Department.

"In my case, luckily we caught them," the victim said.

Prosecutors said Hinton quickly confessed to the crime. She has already served that sentence, and was back in jail for embezzling from a local department store.

There are several things to do if you become a victim of identity theft:

  • Notify the three major credit bureaus and have a fraud alert placed on your credit history. The alert flags lenders to call you before issuing a credit card in your name.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission, which has a database of identity theft cases.
  • Call police in the town where you believe someone is using your identity, not the police department where you live.
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