ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An identity thief is caught red-handed in North Texas.
It was a normal traffic stop for Arlington police, but what they found was eye opening and now they’re warning people across the metroplex.
When officers pulled the vehicle over they said the driver was acting suspicious. During a subsequent search of his vehicle police found five backpacks full of mail and documents: 50 credit cards, social security cards, driver’s licenses, medical records, drugs a BB gun replica of a semi-automatic pistol.
Police arrested the male driver and a female passenger, but aren’t releasing their names or mug until they’ve completed a series of witness identification lineups.
The discovery has left investigators dealing with a mountain of evidence. Today they’ll continue sorting through it to try and identify the victims. One hurdle they’ll have to overcome is the fact that some victims may not even know their information has been compromised.
“Often times people don’t know that they’ve been victimized through identity theft, because they don’t know the information has been stolen until it’s reported to us,” said Sgt. VaNessa Harrison, a spokesperson for the Arlington Police Department.
Police also recovered several laptops and burglary tools.
Police say this is a crime that could have happened anywhere or in any mailbox, especially when you think about the number of credit card mailers cramming your box each week and the fact that companies are busy sending out security chip-embedded credit cards. Officials say you should do everything you can to make sure your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
As for the thief’s victims, police say there are simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe and not just when there’s been a theft or a data breach.
“It’s always good to just periodically check your credit report,” Harrison said. You’ll be looking to see if any new accounts have been opened or if there have been inquiries by companies you aren’t familiar with.
There are a lot of websites offering credit check services, but annualcreditreport.com is free and authorized by the federal government.
The Arlington Police Department is working with U.S. Postal Service in their investigation.