CHATSWORTH (CBSLA.com) — An identity theft victim took matters into her own hands after she says she found the people suspected of ripping her off.
“I felt like I was a detective. I was just very, very nervous,” said Diana Wright, who confronted the pair accused of racking up thousands of dollars using her credit on Saturday.
She snapped photos on her cellphone of the pair after a jewelry store at the Topanga Mall called her saying a couple was in the store applying for credit using her information, which had a fraud alert already in place.
“I went over to her and told her that you stole my identity and I grabbed her arm and she started running,” she said. “He ran, the guy, in a different direction.”
The couple got away.
When Wright went back to the jewelry store, they showed her the fictitious driver’s license the couple presented.
It had Wright’s personal information, only with the suspect’s photo on the identification.
“I was just in tears. I couldn’t believe that. So violated that somebody stole my information,” she said.
Wright says the suspects filed a federal tax return in her name so they have her social security number.
And, she says, they’ve opened a number of department store credit cards using her identity, including one at Macy’s that has a $10,000 limit.
Wright says they even tried to get plastic surgery using her credit.
“They’re smiling in these pictures because they’re charging up stuff that I have to be responsible for,” she said.
Every day when her mail arrives, Wright rushes out to get it.
She remains concerned that the suspects will continue to apply for credit cards using her identity and steal them from her mailbox.
Wright doesn’t know how her identity was stolen.
Investigators say there are ways to protect yourself, including limiting what you carry, locking up your social security card, collecting your mail promptly, shredding any receipts, credit card offers and account statements, and ordering a credit report once a year.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating Wright’s case.
“I’m shaking. I can’t sleep at night. It’s very scary. I want to find these people,” she said.