Identity theft scams ‘widespread’ in parish

Published 8:34 am Sunday, August 19, 2012

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said this week that identity theft is being reported throughout the parish, and that his investigators are hot on the trail of the perpetrators.

Deputies have already made one arrest and expect to make more in the near future. The sheriff’s office could not release details because the investigation is ongoing.

Seal said that the thieves are using stolen checking account numbers, bank routing numbers and other identifying information to produce counterfeit checks and other forged documents.

“Unauthorized purchases are being made and charged to parish residents’ banking accounts,” he said. “The practice appears to be widespread.”

Investigators are pursuing several leads, one of which suggests that the thieves are getting the personal information from mail taken from their victims’ mailboxes.

Seal cautions parish residents to take in their mail promptly and to not leave it unattended.