Police: Homeless targeted in identity theft scam

02/25/2014 1:50 PM

02/25/2014 1:50 PM

Two men have been arrested in connection with an identity theft scam targeting the homeless, police said.

Officers investigating a “suspicious character” report at Pueblo and Dugan Road in west Wichita on Monday night conducted a traffic stop shortly before 9 p.m., Lt. Doug Nolte said. As the officers investigated, they discovered the men had marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the car, as well as numerous telephones and cellphone contracts.

The phones and contracts elicited suspicion in the officers that the men were engaging in other illegal activity, Nolte said. The men, ages 43 and 32, were looking for homeless people and paying them “a small amount of money” for their names and other information, he said.

They were then using that information to create false accounts, Nolte said.

“Right now, we don’t know how many” victims there are, he said, but evidence suggests there are at least eight homeless people who gave information.

The 27-year-old man who reported the suspicious activity is homeless, Nolte said.

“I don’t know if these homeless people understood the nature of what these people were getting themselves involved in,” Nolte said.

The suspects, who do not live in Kansas, were booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of identity theft. One lives in Colorado, the other in California.

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