A man and woman have been charged with multiple counts of burglary, manufacturing and selling government IDs, and forgery for a scam they’ve been operating since at least 2008, but the two were also convicted of similar crimes back in 1999. Tracy Cross and Joe Loera went to extreme measures to perpetrate their low-tech scam which included mail theft, identity fraud and check fraud. These measures included the couple using a fishing-rod-like device to steal documents from locked mailboxes as well as taping documents back together that had been shredded.
The California couple would steal checks and alter them so they could increase the amount drawing from the check and cash it themselves. In one instance a check for less than $6 intended to pay the gas company was converted into a $1,200 check to cash. Police have identified over 200 victims and there are likely many more in this particular scam which they can date back to 2008. When searching Cross and Loera’s homes fake IDs and computer software for reproducing checks were discovered. The two have likely made their livings off these scams for quite some time as they were convicted for similar charges over a decade ago.
Two lessons should be learned from this scam. First, while it is important to protect our identities and personal information online many identity thefts and scams rely on antiquated methods such as dumpster diving and mail theft. Second, fraudsters will continue to do what they know how to do to steal money even if they’ve been caught before. As long as the scam works they’ll keep repeating it, until they are caught again.
For More Information: Mail fraud case highlights the risk of identity theft