Identity theft is a common offense, and Americans are constantly being warned about the possibility that it could happen to anyone. Two cases from the summer of 2017 illustrate how thieves can get ahold of and use the identity of another person.

Having the tools of the trade

In Colorado Springs, CO, law enforcement officers conducted a search of the home of a 29-year-old man and turned up some interesting items. There were two credit card skimmers, a gas pump skimmer, both new and used gift cards and equipment that recodes credit cards with the use of card information that has been stolen. Officers also found a large amount of cash and arrested Alberto Brioso, charging him with identity theft as well as money laundering.

Assuming another identity

A West Palm Beach, FL, man was tripped up by a UPS driver. Eric Thomas ordered products online using the name and former street address of a man who once lived on Winding Creek Lane in Fort Pierce. To pick up his packages, he contacted UPS and asked to rendezvous with the driver at a local gas station. Unfortunately for Mr. Thomas, the driver knew that the person with the name he was given had not lived on Winding Creek Lane for more than two years, and he reported the rendezvous request to police. Detectives were waiting at the gas station, and when Thomas appeared, they took him into custody. He was charged with obstruction of justice, criminal use of personal identification and possession of a counterfeit driver’s license.

Investigations take time

Identity theft is one of the many infractions known as white-collar crime. This is an area that is broad in scope, and those who are under investigation often seek legal counsel without delay. However, in some instances, such as the cases in Colorado and Florida, there is no warning; law enforcement officers rely on the element of surprise.