Notary public admits to taking 16 victims in scam

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- When you need a witness to see you sign an official document -- you take it to a notary. You trust them because they are licensed with the state -- but Contact 6 says you need to choose one wisely!

"They would give $20 for individuals that had a credit score between 500 - 600. Then it would go up from there. If they had a better credit score, she would require additional money for that," U.S. Postal Inspector Kenneth Miller said.

"She" is Melissa Hodge -- a notary public who worked with consumers on refinancing transactions.

Instead of helping people financially, Hodge was selling their social security numbers and personal information to identity thieves.

"I apologize, I am very, very distraught at this point. I have been notified from our bank somebody... this person has been in our bank account. They have almost drained our checking. They have almost drained everything," a fraud victim said.

"They would use the information they got from the notary to identify what they would consider attractive accounts," Miller said.

The con men would then use the information to open credit card accounts.

"They used the credit cards to purchase cell phones, laptops, iPads, televisions, and stay at lavish hotels," Miller said.

Hodge, who became a notary public in 2010 originally lied to investors.

"She denied having any involvement and she suggested that this information was stolen from her office," Miller said.

Eventually, Hodge admitted to passing off information from 16 victims who lost more than $160,000. The best advice is to check your credit report!

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