CHICAGO (WLS) – It’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when” someone will take your personal information. Chicago police say in 2013 there were more than 13,000 reported incidents of identity theft or other similar crimes, and the department has also recently beefed up its financial crimes unit.
But one suburban woman is questioning why two suspects who may have taken her identity haven’t yet been charged.
Cyndi Foglio has a giant stack of paperwork full of credit checks, collection agency notices and $2,500 of payday loans in her name. They’ve ballooned to almost $200,000 with a 499 percent interest.
She says after discovering the identity theft in February 2013, she turned to the Algonquin Police Department for help.
More than a year ago, in August 2013, investigators handed the case over to the Chicago Police Department because the potential suspects live in Chicago. According to an Algonquin police report, subpoenaed information shows that the online payday loan was withdrawn from an IP address on the South Side. The report lists suspect names, a phone number and even an e mail.
“They have names and addresses and the phone numbers on there,” Foglio says. “I am asking them to do something about it.”
Chicago police say they’re still investigating, and that it’s not a slam dunk case. Police wouldn’t answer specific questions about Foglio’s concerns, citing that ongoing investigation, but did talk about the challenges they face in crimes similar to this one.
“IP addresses can be static or dynamic,” says Sergeant John Lucki, commanding officer of Chicago’s Financial Crimes unit. “They are not always associated to a fixed entity or location, so that creates a floating area as to what’s being done out there.”
Lucki says IP addresses can also be unsecure, meaning hundreds of other people could have hopped on that connection.
But Algonquin police, in their investigation, traced that pay day loan money to a pre-paid cash card with an account number, which was registered to one of the same suspects connected to that IP address. But for a non-violent crime, even that may not yet be enough proof for prosecutors.
“If you can’t assemble a complete case usually success for prosecution is minimal,” says Lucki.
Lucki says that in 2012, more detectives were added to the financial crimes unit to keep up with the growing number of cases.