Green Bay man's identity stolen, used to buy luxury cars

Photo: Every Car Listed / Flickr
Photo: Every Car Listed / Flickr(WNDU)
Published: Jan. 24, 2019 at 5:19 PM CST
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A Green Bay man is out more than $200,000 after someone stole his identity and used it to buy luxury cars in multiple states.

Police call it one of the most extensive and bizarre identity theft cases they've investigated. The suspect was never caught on camera.

"It's very odd. Very odd," Green Bay Police Lt. Rick Belanger said.

It started in December when the 61-year-old man received a call from a bank asking when he was going to make payments on his new car.

He didn't have one, and he hung up, thinking it was a scam.

But curious, he checked his credit report.

"They started locating not one but two different, brand new auto loans on their credit," Belanger said, for a Jaguar and a Cadillac Escalade.

While the sales probably happened in late fall, it took a while to process the transactions, and by December banks wanted their money for those expensive cars and started calling the victim.

"True victim, that goes on his credit report and goes, 'Oh my gosh, I never bought these cars. I wish I did."

"How" is still the big mystery.

Belanger says the victim's name, address, drivers license and Social Security numbers were all stolen and used to take out car loans.

The thieves even went so far to register the luxury cars with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Belanger says they traced sales to reputable dealerships in Massachusetts, Virginia and Kansas. But when Green Bay investigators called police in those states, hoping to spot their suspect on surveillance video, they faced a dead end.

"It was all either telephone, transaction of emails back and forth. Sent a picture of a drivers license, which was fake. Sent Social Security number, which was apparently active because it ended up on his credit report. And they went ahead and sold the vehicles and a contracted courier picked up the vehicles."

The Jaguar was involved in a police pursuit in Kenosha last week and later found in Chicago.

Police used GPS to track down the Escalade in Minnesota, only to find out thieves already sold it at auction and pocketed the money.

"As the police in Minnesota are towing the vehicle away, the owner comes outside and says, 'What are you guys doing to my truck?' and they have to tell him, 'Well, it's stolen out of Green Bay, and you're not going to get it back,'" Belanger said.

Police are still looking for the Suburban.

Belanger said the local victim is going through a lot of work to clear his credit and clean up the mess.

He has no idea how the man's information was stolen but says we can all learn from it.

"Check your credit reports as often as you can," Belanger said. "Check your credit card statements as often as you can, because you just don't know what's out there."

The three national credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- are required by law to each provide you with an annual credit report upon request. You can request copies of your credit report every 12 months.