TYLER (KYTX) - Imagine being pulled over for a tail light being out and end up in jail or realize there are warrants out in your name. As CBS 19's Amanda Roberson reports, it's a reality for victims of criminal identity fraud.
"I got stopped and the officers said I had tickets out that I hadn't paid.," explained Lona Dawkins. "They were in a warrant stage."
Dawkins lives in Fort Worth, but she's an avid CBS 19 Facebook follower and reached out when we asked if anyone was a victim of criminal identity theft. "I was at a friend's house. I left my wallet on the counter and his nephew's friends were up and one of them decided to grab my wallet and take off with it."
Not only did the credit card get used, Dawkins said her drivers license got in the hands of another person. "Started using my ID and stuff and got pulled over. They got tickets."
Tickets she didn't know about until she herself got pulled over almost a year later. "Everyone I've had I've paid," Dawkins added.
"We do have some family on family, but a lot of times it's family friends," added Smith County Detective, Sgt. Rickey Strickland. He said from stealing ID's and out going bills in the mailbox to online data mining and data information websites, it's not hard to get information to make a fake drivers license and make you the victim of a crime. "The most common form is the paper printout, the temporary drivers license that the DPS gives out."
And it's hard to clear your name. "Sometimes it never happens, it never happens."
Fortunately Dawkins proved she was at work when the fraudulent ticket happened and didn't go to jail and said she'll try to never let it happen again. "I put my wallet in my bedroom. Just make sure you keep your wallets by you and purses tight to you side when you're out."