Contact 6: Renters were victims in identity theft case

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Those looking to rent an apartment or home are required to fill out a lot of forms, and FOX6's Contact 6 has a warning about what information is put on those forms.

The victims in a recent identity theft case were renters, who had filled out a rental application with personal information.

"Somebody who worked for the apartment management complex was able to obtain copies of their drivers licenses and their applications and they were given to the defendant," U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alvaraz said.

The identity thief then went online, and with those dates of birth and social security numbers applied for student loans.

"They ranged from $25,000 and up," Alvarez said.

Postal inspectors got involved because the checks were being sent to vacant addresses.

"The checks would be picked up the defendant who was stealing the mail," Alvarez said.

The next step in this fraud was hiring people who, with fake IDs, would go into banks and cash the student loan checks.

"The total potential loss in this case was over a half million dollars. The victims in this case had a difficult time fixing their credit. It`s a lengthy process," Alvarez said.

"If their identities are stolen, most parents wouldn't catch that crime for 10 perhaps 15 years down the road, so an ID thief really gets a good head start year, after year, after year," Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton said.

Contact 6 says to check your credit report at least once a year to make sure no one has stolen your identity and taken out loans or credit cards in your name. Additionally, shred any documents containing personal information.