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Police: 300 Victims Affected by Identity Theft Scam

Two NYC men arrested in Connecticut. Police believe victims are spread throughout United States.

Police in Connecticut believe two New York City men may have been involved in an identity theft operation that victimized about 300 people across the United States.

Thursday morning, the men turned themselves in on warrants accusing them of attempting to use a bogus credit card July 10 at the Rite Aid at 435 Main St. in Monroe.

Monroe Police Detective Michael Chaves told Patch that an investigation has found links to identity theft and credit card fraud spanning all 50 states. He said the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force is investigating about 300 cases in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service.

Jerome Ravenell, 30, of 224 York St., Brooklyn, NY, was charged with 10 counts of unlawful completion or reproduction of a credit card. Dequan Bates, 21, of 53 Grant St., Hempstead, NY, was charged with one count of accessory to commit unlawful completion or reproduction of a credit card. Both were held on $50,000 court set bond and are scheduled to be arraigned today.

On July 10, Monroe police officers went to Rite Aid to investigate a report of a man attempting to use a fraudulent credit card. Bates and Ravenell were arrested on numerous financial crime and identity theft charges.

Police gave this account of the investigation:

While searching the men, police found a "thumb drive" in Ravenell's pocket. A digital forensic exam was conducted on the USB storage device for evidence relating to credit card fraud or ID theft.

Located on the USB storage device were files containing track data from credit and debit cards. The data indicated that there were about 300 other victims of ID theft and credit card fraud.

The USB storage device also contained a digital photo, a headshot of Dequan Bates. This picture was used on the fraudulent Florida driver's license in Bates' possession.

Based on the results of this investigation, arrest warrants were obtained for both Ravenell and Bates.

What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Compromised

According to the Better Business Bureau's information on credit card fraud , the following credit bureaus allow you to check a credit report or report identity fraud, as they monitor activity on consumer credit accounts:

Equifax
888-766-0008
Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, Ga. 30374
www.equifax.com

Experian
888-397-3742
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
www.experian.com

TransUnion
800-680-7289
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, Pa. 19022
www.transunion.com

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in a different version on Monroe Patch. This version of the article on Port Chester Patch.

Peter September 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Actually, what should you do BEFORE you believe your identity is stolen? Contact all 3 credit report bureaus above and request that your credit report be FROZEN. This way, it is impossible to anyone to hijack your SSN for purposes of establishing credit. Never use a debit card for purchaces, only a credit card. Mail checks and other important business from USPS faculties, not from your sidewalk mailbox. Shred important bank and credit documents before discarding. Stay vilgilant to improper charges to credit cards by getting online access to the accounts; and report erroroneous charges immediately.

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