April 18, 2008
California Woman Uses RootsWeb to Commit Identity Theft
Federal prosecutors this week charged a Southern California woman with aggravated identity theft and other crimes for allegedly using a popular genealogy research website to locate people who had recently died, and then taking over their credit cards.
Tracy June Kirkland, 42, allegedly used Rootsweb.com to find the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of people who, shall we say, had no further need for their consumer credit lines. She then "would randomly call various credit card companies to determine if the deceased individual had an … account," according to the 15-count indictment filed in federal court in Los Angeles Tuesday.
She'd then persuade the issuer to change the mailing address for the dead victim to one of her many rented mail drops in Orange and Riverside counties, and in some cases she'd add her own name as an authorized user of the card, prosecutors say.
You can read the entire story in the Wired web site at http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/04/feds-charge-cal.html. The indictment is available at http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/files/tracy_june_kirkland.pdf.
My thanks to John Ralls for letting me know about this story.