Woman has identity stolen twice by the same man

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Identity theft is bad enough if it happens once, because it takes so much time to get your credit and your life back -- but can you imagine being victimized twice by the same suspect?

"It's an ongoing thing. They steal your identity. It destroys your life," fraud victim Maria Chen said.

Chen had her identity stolen online and the suspect literally took everything.

"He had withdrawn all of my money out of the bank and opened up credit cards in my name," Chen said.

Chen's bank alerted her. When she found out her money was gone and her credit destroyed, she was angry.

"My credit is still messed up because of him," Chen said.

Chen immediately went to police, who were able to track down the suspect and arrest him. She also put alerts on her accounts -- yet somehow, the suspect got out of jail. He was able to use her personal information yet again.

"The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims," U.S. Postal Inspector Carla Menendez said.

Once they do that, they can essentially access your credit card account, add themselves as users, get their own card with their name on it, and start charging to your account.

Some advice from Postal Inspectors involves safeguarding your personal information at all times.

"One thing we always recommend is to check your credit once a year to make sure no fraudulent activity has happened," Menendez said.

"I've been trying to get my life back again, so I can continue on, but it's been very hard," Chen said.

Postal Inspectors also recommend never carrying your social security card with you. Some people carry the cards in their wallet, but it's best to memorize the number and keep the card somewhere safe.