New identity theft scam working its way into the St. Louis area

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – There’s an identity theft scam with a new twist is hitting St. Louis:  packages you never ordered, sent to your home, and stolen from your porch.

You don’t even know it, until you get the bill.

Fox 2’s Andy Banker leaving his house for work a few days ago and there was a big screen TV at the front door shipped to his address, in his name, and billed to a credit account he never opened.

It’s a different “M-O” from what police typically see which involves people following delivery drivers or simply scouring neighborhoods for packages on front porches and stealing them, not knowing what’s inside.

In this case, the thieves knew what they were getting and when they were getting it.

“The packages were ordered in your name delivered to your home,” said St. Louis Police Detective Carl Dulay.  “Just so someone could take it off that front porch.”

It was Sony 48” flat screen smartTV shipped by online retailer, Montgomery Ward.  A couple of days after the TV arrived, a bill came:  close to $1,150 dollars for the TV plus close to $158 dollars for shipping, for a total of more than $1,300 billed to Andy Banker via an account he never opened.

Police have had similar reports recently in St. Louis and St.  Louis County.

Whoever set up the phony accounts also arranged for someone to take the delivered items before the victims ever knew they were there.

“Without a doubt.  It’s a form of identity theft,” Dular said.  “Identity theft is problem not only here in the St. Louis area, but in other areas. There’s something to gain by this.  If they are successful in picking up 1 out of 4 TV’s during the course of a week, that’s obvious gain for that person.”

It was a $9billion dollar criminal enterprise yearly in the U.S., he said.

Luckily in his case, Andy saw the TV before the thieves did.  He immediately alerted Montgomery Ward.  The company closed the account and had the TV shipped back at no cost to Andy.

Still, it was hardly the end of the matter for Andy or any other victims, police said.  Catching the thieves was not easy, police added.

“It is a very sophisticated process, when someone is sitting behind a laptop or computer at unknown location and they’re enlisting a credit card application in your name … what you need to begin with is looking at your credit reports, ensuring that each entry on your credit reports belongs to you,” Dulay said.

This is a crime, so report to it to police, he stressed.

Victims should also notify the big 3 credit reporting agencies.  If you give them a police report number, they’ll put a “fraud alert” on your report for up to 7 years, letting creditors know you’re a victim of identity theft and that they need to make sure “it’s you” before issuing any more credit cards.

Everyone with credit should monitor their cards and credit reports frequently to help guard against Identity theft, he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News