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Man Sends ID Thief to Jail after Contacting US Secret Service

By Faye Mergel
Published: Sunday, December 6th, 2009

James Backus filed a complaint with Marion and Florence authorities against a man who has been messing up with his credit report for months. The Florence man was disappointed because his case saw no progress until he contacted the United States Secret Service himself.

Man Sends ID Thief to Jail after Contacting US Secret ServiceBackus knew something was wrong when he reviewed his credit report and found out that some of his contact information were deleted and replaced with another person’s. He immediately requested the credit bureaus to fix the errors and thought that was the end of it all. But the suspect, Kenneth Alan Batton, 37, right away replaced the information in Backus’ credit report after it was corrected. Batton was able to continue the theft because he had the victim’s social security number.

Backus knew things were starting to turn to worse after Wachovia Bank sent him a letter confirming the change in his mailing address. He also received several letters from credit card issuers asking him to verify several accounts he has opened.

He later found out that the ID fraudster was able to manipulate his accounts after contacting Wachovia Bank. Batton used the victim’s social security number to get access to his Wachovia account. The bank representative, in turn, released all of Backus’ personal identifying information to Batton.

Backus filed a complaint with the Florence Sheriff’s office but was referred to Marion authorities. He did as instructed by local Marion authorities, but to no avail.

The suspect was able to use Backus’ identity repeatedly and was able to steal a total of $2,300 from his Wachovia checking account. There was very little he could do to stop the fraudster because Marion authorities told him that they had no sufficient evidence to make an arrest.

Tired of seeing someone mess up with his credit report, he contacted a US Secret Service agent in Columbia. He made the call last October and immediately got an arrangement to meet with the agent the following morning.

A month after the meeting, Secret Service agents went to the suspect’s house and nabbed him. Marion county officers said they were able to arrest Batton after a long investigation. He will likely be charged for federal offenses aside from offenses made against Florida state laws. Authorities further report that Batton already served time for similar charges in the past. His hearing will be set this week in a local court.

Meanwhile, investigators advise consumers to be mindful of new items in their credit report, especially that identity thief goes up during holidays. Consumers who suspect fraudulent items in their credit report are urged to immediately freeze their accounts with the credit bureaus.

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