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Rip-Off Alert: Identity theft big during holiday season

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 12/20/2012 7:26 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- During the holiday season, and every other time of the year, there are identify thieves out there who would love to use your name to get a few credit cards and then go on a shopping spree.

It happened to one small business owner, and the toll was enormous.

"You ruined my life, you ruined your own life": That's Hong Fang's message to the scam artist who stole her identity two different times, opened up several credit cards in her name and destroyed her credit.

"My credit score before was over 800,” she said. “After he affected me, the one time the lowest was 200. No credit card company wanted to open account with me."

And it affected her trucking business.

"One time I went to a gas station and tried to get gas, and the credit card (company) denied it," she said.

And Hong Fang wasn't the only victim, according to U.S. Postal Inspector Dominick Riley.

"This person would get people's information and then he would try to open up credit cards by calling the credit card company saying he was an authorized user and he needed the card sent to an address,"

There were 25 victims in this case, and Fang estimates that $20,000 to $30,000 was stolen in her name.

Fang know knows one way to avoid falling victim to a scam: "I won't release any of my personal information on the phone."

Another piece of advice: Check your credit card statements often.

The conman in this case is a repeat offender. While U.S. postal inspectors did not release his name, he has been arrested four times for identity theft or fraud.

Prison time didn't stop him. Even while behind bars, he was opening up credit cards in Hong Fang's name.
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