The Washtenaw County Sheriff Office has issued the following warning:
“The information below explains the warning and provides actions you can take to protect your family and yourself.
“Residents in Scio and Lodi Township neighborhoods have been the victims of identity fraud and mail theft incidents. The neighborhoods that have been hit in Scio thus far are High Hollow, Sandy Creek, Malena, Trillium Crossing and Greenook in Loch Alpine.
“All of the incidents that have occurred are within neighborhoods where the mailboxes are grouped together. Most of those neighborhoods have open mailboxes – where anyone could go through them. Personal information was obtained from all of the victim’s. Social security numbers were obtained to apply for several different credit cards online. Most of the credit cards applied for were through Fidelity. Others applied for were Ally, Elan, Capitol One, American Express and Fifth Third. The cards were then mailed to the victim’s residence. Some of the victim’s received the cards prior to the suspect’s taking them from their mailbox and others the suspects were able to retrieve the new cards prior to the victim’s having any knowledge of the accounts being opened. The suspects were then using the new credit cards at various Best Buy’s and Walmart’s throughout the state to make purchases of Apple watches, IPads and gift cards.
“A majority of the victim’s found out that their residence had been signed up for Informed Delivery through the US Postal Service. This is a program that every home can be registered for (only one occupant of the home can register).
“You will receive a daily email from the Post Office with photographs of the mail you will be receiving that day. The suspects were signing the victim’s residence up for Informed Delivery and receiving the email notifications showing when the newly obtained credit cards would be arriving. The suspects would then retrieve the mail from the mailboxes the day the credit cards were being delivered. You can sign up for Informed Delivery at this website: https:// informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action
“Some important points to consider
“Sign yourself up for one of the credit apps; Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, etc., to monitor any activity on your credit account. These are apps you can install on your smart phone and check daily. You can see if there have been any hard inquiries on your credit for openings of new accounts. Put a flag on your account to be notified prior to any new accounts being opened. If you’ve been a victim of an identity theft or fraud, get a copy of the police report and send it to one of the three credit bureaus to have 7 year fraud protection which will not allow any new accounts to be opened without being contacted first.
“Important things to do and/ask:
“If you find that someone obtained a fraudulent credit card in your name here are some important things to do and/ask:
- Cancel the card immediately
- Ask if the card has been used. If it’s been used find out date/time, store location, amounts, items purchased
- How was the credit card opened (online?)
- IP address used to apply for the credit card
- Time of the IP address submission
- Date of application
- Phone numbers attached to the application
- Email address attached to the application
- Did you receive a letter from the US Post Office saying you were signed up for Informed Delivery hat you don’t recognize. There will be a partial email address on the letter that was used to sign up for the service. Contact the Post Office to have this addressed if you didn’t sign up.
- If you’re not signed up for Informed Delivery sign up using the link above.
- Call the Sheriff ’s Office to report the fraud and provide them with any/all of the above information.
“Again we are turning all of these cases over to the US Postal Inspectors Office for further follow-up and prosecution. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call.”