Opening of scam bank account uncovered
False information was used between Oct. 21 and Jan. 30 to open a checking account in the name of a Durham heating and air conditioning contractor.
Everette Lee Clark Jr. and sheriff’s deputies think the account was a prelude to opening debit or credit card accounts in Clark’s name.
Clark said he learned about the identity theft when Chase Bank, where he has a credit card account in his name, contacted him to say an incorrect email address appeared on records for an account that had been set up under his name and address.
Clark said the person who opened the checking account used a name similar to his, but misspelled. The misspelling was one of a handful of aliases he uses online, Clark said.
“That was a red flag,” Clark said.
It should have been a red flag to the bank, because Clark had a credit card through the same bank where the checking account was opened.
“We think this was a prelude to opening a credit card account,” Clark said.
Clark was not sure how the perpetrator got his information, but getting his name and address weren’t hard because he owns a business, undersheriff Larry Starkey said.
Deputies do not have a suspect.
“There’s really no way to track it down,” Starkey said. “If you’re in this kind of a business, it’s not hard to get this kind of stuff.”
Clark did not lose money on the false account.
Starkey recommends that people monitor their credit card statements and bank accounts so they are aware in a timely manner if accounts are breached.
He also recommends using a service that prevents anyone from opening an account in someone’s name without getting that person’s permission.
“I think there are companies that offer that service for a fee,” Starkey said.
Clark said his wife had enrolled the couple in a service recommended by Starkey.