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The Resource Center Credit Fraud & Credit Monitoring | article

Just When You Think You Know Someone: Duped By Your Caretaker

There may be some people in your life who you aren’t necessarily related to but that you still consider beloved members of your family. You may trust these individuals and have no problem sharing things with them, such as memories, personal secrets or even financial information. However, whether a person is a loved one or a complete stranger, they are still capable of giving in to temptation and taking advantage of your trust.

Fraud discovered by keeping a close eye on bank statements
One elderly Roseville, California, resident found out that the woman who she had trusted to take care of her had actually been stealing from her throughout their relationship. The victim had noticed that there were strange charges on her debit and credit cards when she reviewed her monthly statements. Because she was avid at doing credit monitoring of her own, she had noticed the strange charges immediately, and called her bank to figure it all out.

It didn’t take police long to find the thief
In October of 2012, soon after the victim had reported the charges, authorities arrested Farrah Fawcett Lavulo of Sacramento for stealing the elderly woman’s identity. The victim told investigators that she had received the help of caretakers, as she was experiencing trouble living alone at 69-years-old. This led the police to Lavulo, who had worked with the woman for some time, all the while using the victim’s accounts to make purchases.

Good habits will help protect an identity in the long run
Lavulo had made more than $1,000 in purchases using the victim’s debit card, including buying meals and several prepaid telephone cards she used to communicate with her jailed boyfriend. Lavulo was charged with suspicion of identity fraud as well as defrauding an elder or dependent adult, and was held for $20,000 bail.

Because the victim in this case kept good track of her finances, she was able to spot the theft immediately before too much damage had been done to her credit score. Had she not been so keen, the thief may have been able to make a large mess out of the victim’s credit report.