Anyone can become a victim of identity theft. Sometimes, people may not find out until it's too late.
Identity theft hit an all-time high in 2016. Research found an estimated 15.4 million consumers experienced some type of ID theft last year. That was up from 13.1 million the year before.
About one in every 16 U.S. adults was a victim in 2016. Fraud losses totaled $16 billion. This was despite retailers being forced to accept more secure chip cards.
Veteran airman Adrian Boyd left Dallas after high school and joined the Air Force. While she served her country three years overseas, someone served themselves to her good name and did bad things.
“About four or five months later after I had been home, the police came to the house looking for me,” she recalled. “Theft, injury to a child and hindering apprehension.”
Boyd was shocked to learn that she was a victim of identity theft.
“I was like I just got back. I haven’t been here. So what am I supposed to do?” she said.
Dallas police told Boyd to get fingerprinted to prove she wasn’t the person charged in her name. She did that
“I thought everything was done once I did that,” she said.
But when Boyd applied for a state insurance license, she was denied because of her criminal history. So she turned to Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson for help.
“We file a petition on their behalf petition and an order for the judge,” Johnson explained. “Judge signs off on it. We dismiss the case and expunge it.”
The DA's office files more than 200 misuse of identity petitions each year.
“The part that concerns me is that folks go out there, steal your ID and commit an offense in your name,” Johnson said.
This Saturday, the Dallas district attorney is giving people who've been victims a chance to have their names and criminal records cleared.
“And this is free,” Johnson said. “We have the authority, as the district attorney’s office, to do this.”
A proverb says a good name is better to be chosen than great riches. Boyd says you have to do what you can to keep your good name good.
“I learned it’s important that at least twice a year you need to do a background check on yourself because you don’t know what people are capable of,” she said.
The free event will be Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Meadows Foundation on 2900 Live Oak Street. People who've had their ID stolen and used in criminal offenses can show up.
With valid ID, the sheriff's office will take fingerprints and match those with ones on file. If there is no match, the cases will be dropped and records expunged.