Woman charged with identity theft

Published 12:28 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

Bainbridge Public Safety arrested a Camilla, Ga., woman on Tuesday and charged her with identity theft,  after she allegedly used an elderly man’s personal information to rack up a large credit card debt in his name.

Ivory Michell Lawton, 33, of Camilla, is accused of opening up a credit card in a Bainbridge man’s name and charging approximately $3,000 on the account, according to BPS Investigator Chip Nix. The victim and his family have spent many hours working to clear up his credit information after what happened, Nix said.

Nix said he believes he may have uncovered more than 100 victims of identity theft while looking into Lawton’s activities. Nix said he found evidence suggesting Lawton may have bought strangers’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and occupations from another person who had access to the information.

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“Investigation into the case is still ongoing, because there is a lot of information to look over, however, we had enough evidence at this time to charge her with the case in Bainbridge,” Nix said.

Nix said he has been in contact with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service and police departments in both Camilla and Albany, Ga.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are three things a person should do if they believe they have been a victim of identity theft.

First, place a free initial fraud alert with one of the three credit reporting agencies and confirm that they will contact the other two agencies on your behalf.

Obtain a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies; a free, non-profit site that lets consumers get free credit reports with no hidden charges is annualcreditreport.com

Finally, submit an identity theft report to the Federal Trade Commission at its website, www.consumer.ftc.gov

Consumers should take a printed copy of the identity theft report with them when they go to file a police report.