Whitehall Twp. police investigating identity theft crime spree: Prevention tips everyone should know

"I just feel totally violated," said Jennifer Schutt, who was victimized in October.
WHITEHALL TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania are investigating an identity theft scheme that has targeted at least 10 residents.

Whitehall Township police say the thieves set up an account under the victim's name and ordered electronics to their home. Then the suspects wait in the shadows and swipe the package just after it arrives.

"I just feel totally violated," said Jennifer Schutt, who was victimized in October.

Schutt's Ring surveillance video shows a FedEx truck delivering a package to her home. But she never ordered anything.

Twenty minutes later, video shows a man walking up to her home, taking that package and driving away.

"I don't have Facebook. I'm like off the grid, that's why I'm so upset my information got out there, but it could happen to anyone," she said.

Two days before this happened, Schutt say she had gotten an alert from LifeLock that someone had used her name, birth date, and social security number to open an AT&T account.

LifeLock had told Schutt it was investigating the account. She also reported the suspicious incident to police.

"It's a crime of opportunity. In the age of technology, the information is available and it's a quick, easy score for somebody who wants to victimize," said Deputy Chief Mark Mazzitelli with the Whitehall Township Police Department.

Residents are urged to call police if an unexpected package arrives at the door.

According to Rob D'Ovidio, an associate professor of criminology and justice studies at Drexel University, phishing scams are up 32% in 2021 over last year. He says this is one way thieves are getting a hold of personal information.

"Don't discount how important making sure your computer is up to date in terms of the security patches and software patches," said D'Ovidio.

While Schutt says she doesn't how her information was comprised, she is making changes to her daily life.

"Now I'm having everything delivered to my work or know someone's home because I don't want to go through that again," she said.

Experts say some ways to protect yourself include monitoring your credit, setting up alerts on your credit card, and using two-factor authentication on your accounts.

Whitehall police are asking any other potential victims to come forward.

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