Authorities bust a statewide identity theft ring

Thursday, March 3rd 2005, 6:16 am
By: News On 6

A statewide identity theft ring is out of business. It had Tulsa and Oklahoma City Police detectives working with the Secret Service to bring it to the end. And police say the bust reaches so many victims; some might not even know they've been hit.

What surprised police during the two month investigation was that the more they learned the more victims they discovered. Jacob Wilfong and Michelle Fischer, along with six other suspects, face federal charges. They're accused of using innocent victims' names to make online charge accounts. But police say what's scary is how they selected their victims, simply by driving down the street.

Two of the suspects would write down an address and pass the numbers to inside accomplices at an Oklahoma City credit bureau. The accomplices then pulled up names, birthdates and social security numbers. But the scam wasn't done.

Police say others criminals would use the information to make fake id's and credit cards, racking up bills for unsuspecting victims. Many victims wouldn't find out until they had serious debt. Tulsa Cyber Crime unit Detective Richard Coleman: "Some victims, the first clue they get is when say a credit collection, or a store calls to say "Hey, you owe us this money" and at that point, they realize we've been victimized."

Those victims were then left to clean up the mess and their credit.

Police are also amazed at the complexity of the scam and how the suspects chose victims, some as far as 120 miles apart.