How much do you trust your neighbor? - CBS46 News

How much do you trust your neighbor?

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ATLANTA (CONSUMER ALERT) -

No matter how nice they may seem, you can't always trust your neighbor.

San Juanita Avina learned the hard way when her 66-year-old father tried to use his credit card at Walmart.

"What do you mean I can't use my card," she recalled. "She said because it's canceled, it's closed."

Turns out her father's identity had been stolen. Walmart started looking into the problem and said multiple cards had been issued for the account, including one to a daughter, "Maria."

"I called them back and said there is no such person as Maria Avina that is not my name," San Juanita said.

The family suspected a long-time neighbor was involved and as they talked to postal inspectors, they learned they were right.

"She purposely befriended them, tried to make it look as though she was a caretaker, friend to them, and somebody who was trustworthy," said US Postal Inspector Mary Johnson.

Johnson said this is a common MO for identity thieves.

"She did that in order to obtain their identifying information. So she can become an added user on their current cards and to open up new cards. She had utility bills put in their name for her personal house," Johnson said.

Inspectors said we are all vulnerable to identity theft.

"It seems to be an ever-evolving crime. There is no set tone of victim right now. It's elderly, children, middle aged, college students - anybody and everybody can be a target of ID Theft," Johnson said.

To protect yourself from fraud, shred all documents that contain any personal information and be sure to request your three free credit reports each year and look over them closely.

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