ATLANTA - Police say they have uncovered a stash of Social Security numbers and personal documents that could be at the core of a huge identity-theft operation.
Authorities said the man used the data to steal the identity of Channel 2 traffic reporter Mark Arum and use it to buy a Mercedes-Benz.
Arum said he discovered his identity has been stolen a year and a half ago.
“I got a letter from the Department of Revenue in September 2011 saying that I hadn’t paid the insurance on my car, and I was like, I always pay my insurance, wasn’t my car,” Arum said.
Police said Erkes Green purchased a $72,000 Mercedes Benz in Fort Lauderdale using Arum’s name.
“I was shocked, because I’m really careful with my private information,” Arum said.
Atlanta Police Department investigators said Green’s cover was unraveled after a local bank called police because he had deposited a stolen $46,000 check. They said the check was just the tip of the iceberg; they also discovered that Green and his network had filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns.
Police said ID thieves like Green are becoming more sophisticated. They said he was driving another Mercedes he had purchased using a stolen identity when he was arrested in February.
When police raided Green’s southeast Atlanta apartment, investigators found incriminating evidence such as books on how to steal identities without getting caught and credit card encoders.
Police said they also found a filing cabinet with hundreds of people’s names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers and fraudulently filed tax returns.
Arum said he still hasn’t gotten his 2011 tax return and he still gets calls from creditors.
Experts advise everyone to check their credit report at least once a year.