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Rip-Off Alert: Trusted home health aide part of identity theft ring

One couple shares their sad story after a trusted home health aide stole personal information and left with thousands of dollars in damages. [MGN Online]

One couple shares their sad story after a trusted home health aide stole personal information and left with thousands of dollars in damages.

Gerald Ruggiero and his wife are still working to repair the damage after learning his parents were victims of identity theft.

“I found that about $6,000 was debited from her checking account, and I questioned them and they weren't aware of it or how it happened,” Ruggiero said.

The home health aide hired to help the New York couple was stealing from them.

"They had a trusting relationship; my father was crazy about him,” Ruggiero said. “Everything was going swell until they got swindled."

The fraud began unraveling when Ruggiero’s mother called him confused about withdrawals from her account. He quickly realized what was going on after looking at the couple's checkbook.

"Some checks were manipulated for different figures,” he said. “Some checks were made out to cash; some checks went to Costco."

In addition, their personal information was being used to open new credit cards accounts and apply for car loans. In all, the couple lost $25,000.

"Their privacy was invaded and they were robbed, literally robbed, by somebody they trusted," Ruggiero said.

Postal inspectors say there were dozens of victims and the home health aide was part of an identity theft ring.

“Once identity is stolen, it is able to be used,” said fraud victim Adam Yavner, “It can be sold across the country to whoever is willing to attempt to use it further, even though it has been flagged.”

Ruggiero froze his parents accounts so if anyone tries to apply for credit with information, he will be alerted.

"They were able to shut most of it down, but a lot did go through,” he said. “And they are still to this day, many months later, still receiving notifications from the credit bureaus of new attempts on new accounts."

The home health aide in this case was arrested and faces charges. Postal inspectors stress the importance of protecting all personal information, especially if people are going to be consistently visiting the home.

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