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Rip-Off Alert: ID thieves target leukemia patients

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 2/21/2013 6:00 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- In today's Rip-Off Alert, a story that offers ample proof that there are few places off limits for identity thieves.

This story also proves some of these thieves have no shame.

Elsy was devastated after discovering the money she and her husband were saving for a new home had been stolen from their bank account.

"The dream was gone. Everything we worked for -- gone,” Elsy said. "They got our personal information from the medical facility where my husband was getting treatment for leukemia."

While Elsy's husband underwent chemotherapy, an employee of the medical clinic was stealing his personal information from his check-in forms.

"When we found out that money was gone, I dropped to my knees because it terrified me that everything was going to be gone," Elsy said

"It's rather heart-wrenching that someone would take advantage of somebody in that condition," said U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler

U.S. postal inspectors began investigating Elsy's case and found there more than 35 other patients who had also had their personal information compromised.

"They feel violated, I'm sure, since their information was stolen, especially during such a vulnerable time in their lives," Schissler said.

One way to stop the thieves like the ones in this case: Always monitor your credit card statements and check your credit once a year. Also, be aware.

"If you get a call from a hospital, bank or credit card company asking for your personal information. do not give it out over the phone,” Schissler said. “Unless it’s a call you initiated, they shouldn't be asking for that information. They should already have that information."

This story has a happy ending; authorities were able to recover Elsy's money.

"My husband and I are good,” Elsy said. “We have a home, and he hit the cancer-free mark and have our sixth grandchild on the way, and we're doing great."

Four people were prosecuted in this case: the hospital employee, his nephew -- who was sentenced to five years behind bars -- the nephew's girlfriend and that girlfriend's neighbor.
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