Villains in most horror movies are larger than life, nightmare-inducing creatures of the night. They lurk in the shadows, prey on the weak, and put up a good fight against even the most formidable hero. Bad guys who wreak havoc on entire communities in the movies are usually as sneaky and elusive as they are frightening.
In the world of identity theft, the real bad-guys may not be waiting in the shadows. In fact, the villains in these tales sometimes operate in plain daylight; making themselves totally visible to the victims they are trying to prey upon. This was the case for one Houston resident who was ultimately successful in opening up 20 credit cards using other people’s identities.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Ganiyu Osho was anything but an expert thief. If anything, he seemed to have broken every single one of the classic criminal rules. Yet he still managed to get enough information to take advantage of several people's good credit score.
Osho would visit the same apartment complexes in the Houston area daily and rummage through mailboxes in plain sight attempting to score someone’s sensitive material. Anything from a credit card offer to a document with a bank account number displayed would be enough to give Osho the chance to open up new accounts in a stranger’s name.
No Disguise Needed
He not only went snooping during the daytime, but he also returned to the scene of each crime repeatedly driving one of two cars. It took a while for neighbors and postal workers to notice the mysterious man.
One day, a mail man ran the plates on Osho’s Mercedes, was able to identify that he was the owner of the two cars seen lurking one apartment complex and contacted the police. When authorities got to his house, he had tons of mail, as well as more than 20 credit cards in names other than his own.
Osho was ultimately deported to his native country of Nigeria after being sentenced to 57 weeks in medium security jail. Even though he did get caught, he left a lasting mark on the credit reports of numerous victims.
Had any of the victims been signed up for a credit monitoring program, they might have been able to stop this clumsy criminal earlier.