KIMT News 3 – “This is something out of a movie.”
That is the reaction of Daniel Hughes of Gulfport, Florida, after he says he received a call from an Iowa investigator explaining that they caught the alleged identity thief, Wendell Hunter of Forest City, who he says has been using his information for more than 15 years.
“It all started in 1998 when I was applying for Social Security disability because of my medical condition,” says Hughes. “I was in line at the social security administration office. When they started going through all of my jobs that I had, there were lists of hotels in Las Vegas, just all over, and I had never worked at a single one of those.”
That was just the beginning of Hughes’ issues — he says Hunter voted in his name and even used his Medicaid to pay for medical expenses.
“When I would go get blood work at certain laboratories, or even my normal doctor, they would deny my claim explaining that Blue Cross Blue Shield is my provider, and I had to tell them that it isn’t,” he says.
“Victims can be anyone,” says Sheriff Kevin Pals of the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office. “We have had law enforcement get their information stolen, government officials, it could be anyone. What we recommend people do is get a credit check once a year. Everyone gets one free credit check a year and this could help keep people safe.”
While Hughes says he has been dealing with this situation for the last 15 years, Pals says there is a reason it could take so long.
“There is a lot of paper work and investigative work that goes into this,” says Pals. “It can get even more complicated when it involves going over state lines.”
Though Hughes says his he is relieved to hear the person who allegedly stole his identity has been arrested, he says he is still dealing with the ramifications.
“My credit is awful,” he says. “He had credit cards in my name. It is going to take forever to get that better.”