ID theft victim: it can happen to anyone

By Minna Sugimoto bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A woman who became an identity theft victim wants you to know that the crime can happen to anyone.

When it comes to protecting her financial well-being, Gwen Cole doesn't mess around.

"I shred everything and do everything I can to protect my information," she said.

Despite that, the California resident says someone in Hawaii still managed to make her an identity theft victim.

"To have that happen to me is just, is just astonishing," she said.

She says, shortly after she signed up for fraud alerts, a credit card company called to tell her an account was opened in her name.

"They had charged $2,000 on that account, but they told me not to worry," Cole said. "They got suspicious when they noticed that that account was opened in Hawaii and I live in California."

She doesn't know for sure how the suspect got her personal information.

"I think that what happened to me, I ordered something over the phone, you know, one of these advertisements that you call an 800 number," she said. "Right after I did that was when all of this happened."

She says her local police department and authorities in Hawaii worked together to make an arrest in her case.

"I'm glad that everybody is so proactive and on this, you know, when something like this happens because it really minimized the damage that was done to me," she said.