If You’re Going To Commit $175K In ID Theft, Don’t Do It Under Your Real Name

One would think that a scammer clever enough to steal a victim’s personal data and trick some of the nation’s largest banks into helping her steal $175,000 would have the forethought to hide her own identity. But that idea apparently didn’t occur to a North Carolina who also posted helpful photos of herself online to aid police in their search.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on a local man whose Charles Schwab investment account was drained of $175,000 by ID thieves who somehow gained access to his personal info and his phone number.

Knowing that Schwab would call the customer to confirm the authenticity of two huge transfers — $123,000 to a Chase branch in Atlanta, and $52,000 to a Wells Fargo outlet in California — the suspects apparently had all the victim’s incoming calls forwarded to an untraceable cellphone. So when Schwab made the call to check on the transfers, it was the scammers who picked up instead of the victim.

The suspects then used cash withdrawals and money orders to drain the $123,000 from the Chase account, which had been set up in the North Carolina woman’s name. Her Facebook page also has several “selfies” that helped police match her to a woman seen in the bank branch’s security footage.

“I think she is with a group of professionals,” said the detective who is currently looking for the 26-year-old suspect. “There is no way she did this by herself.”

Luckily, the Wells Fargo transaction was caught before the money vanished. And Schwab has put the $123,000 back into the victim’s account.