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Identity thieves hit East Texas

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LINDALE (KYTX) -

A Lindale couple wants people to know about an identity theft scam they nearly fell victim to.

First, Marquita Chapman and her husband saw some credit card charges they didn't make. Then the calls started coming.

"Thursday is when Bank of America called. [So did] CitiBank and Chase," Chapman said.

The Chapmans' identity thief bombarded all kinds of banks hoping one would slip up and issue the Chapmans a fraudulent a credit card.

"We had already put a fraud alert out on both of our social security numbers," Chapman said.

This week four cards came in the mail: one for Chapman, one for her husband, and two for "James Daughtry."

"Oh [he] could be bogus," Chapman said. "No, there's no telling."

The Chapmans are part of a growing group of victims. In 2011, 11.5 million people had their identities stolen. Numbers for 2012 went up by another one million people. And Texas ranks 7th in a list of states with the most identity theft victims per capita.

So what about the chapman's unwanted credit cards?

"It's possible that the thief got a hold of the card numbers and is going to try to use them once the cards have been activated," Mechele Mills with the East Texas Better Business Bureau said.

Mills said the Chapmans were right to cancel the cards as soon as they came.

Chapman went ahead and enrolled in an identity theft protection program.

Now she wants someone to find "James Daughtry" before he gets another victim.

"Once I get my teeth into something, I don't let it go," Chapman said. "And it will go further if I find any more information out where I can really nail them."

The Chapmans never lost a cent in all this but they could have been a lot less lucky. After the original bogus charges they had been forward thinking enough to put fraud alerts in place with the credit bureaus and security alerts on their bank accounts.

The BBB also recommends checking your credit report every year to find out what those agencies know that you don't. It's also a good idea to use a locking mailbox and shred sensitive documents.

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