Alabama Ranks #14 Worst In Identity Thefts Nationally

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By Catalina Trivino

One report says Alabama ranks as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to identity theft. So just how many identity thefts have happened in Montgomery? And how is law enforcement trying to combat the crime?

What would happen if someone stole YOUR identity and bought thousands of dollars worth of items under your name? Well, that's what happened to one Montgomery woman 12 years ago... And to this day, she's still dealing with the damage that comes with identity theft.

Eris Beasley thought being a victim of identity theft would never happen to her. Back in 2002, she ran into her daughter's day care. She left the door unlocked.

"Purse was gone. Ultimately, the individual or individuals had access to several checks, credit cards and etecetera in the purse," Said Beasley.

That's when she says the madness started -- 12 years later, she's still dealing with the consequences because the person has not been caught. She carries copies of documents with her identity anywhere she goes. Just a month ago, the situation got even worse.

"It was brought to my attention that there was a warrant out for my arrest for that same Bancorp or Bank of America transaction of almost $5,000 that I was unaware of in Butler County," Said Beasley.

In 12 years, she says the thief has stolen at least $7,000. But Beasley is only one of many who are trying to recover their identity.

The Federal Trade Commission says Montgomery had nearly 500 complaints of identify theft last year. Alabama ranks the 14th worst state in the nation for identity theft with nearly 4,000 complaints. Montgomery Police say they're trying to be more attentive in combatting the crime. 

"Wherever the card may have been used. They use surveilance video of stores the card may have been used and they may use tips from management," Said Cpl. David Hicks, Montgomery Police Department's Business Crime Prevention Coordinator.

Police say you should regularly check your credit report -- they say the faster you act on any irregularities on your account, the greater chance law enforcement can help solve your case.

To make sure you're not a victim, police say it's best to shred any documentation that may have your social security, drivers license and banking information.