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IDENTITY THEFT Woman who was told she would get $12,500 instead loses $330



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The caller claimed to work for a benefits company in Miami.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A West Side woman who believed she would receive $12,500 in federal grants for health-care benefits if she paid $29.95 for starters knows better today.

The 43-year-old Rhoda Avenue woman believed it when a voice on the phone told her that First National Benefits Company in Miami had the grant money for her, police said. The $29.95 was to cover the cost of paperwork and if she wanted the entire $12,500 in grants she would need to send a total of $299.95.

The woman received a letter from the company this week that broke down the various benefits she would be receiving. A $100 check was supposed to be included with the letter, but it was not.

What victim did

She called the 800 number listed on the letter but no one answered, police said.

The woman then called her bank and was informed that the company had not only taken $29.95 but also $299.95 from her checking account. She instructed the bank to put a hold on her account.

The theft-by-deception case was turned over to detectives on Friday.

In an unrelated theft, a 48-year-old Birch Hill Drive man told police that someone has been using his debit/credit card at numerous locations in California without his permission.

In the past week, charges of $700 to $800 were recorded, reports show.

That case of identity theft also was turned over to detectives on Friday.




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