Skip to main content

Felony Lane Gang: How to Protect Yourself

These days, many people think of fraud happening online, but “old-school” in-person theft is still alive and well — and we can all take steps to protect ourselves.

What is the Felony Lane Gang?

The Felony Lane Gang (FLG) is a large nationwide criminal enterprise that organized in Florida a decade ago. With the spring, this despicable band of scammers heads up I-75 and makes its way north.

Members of the FLG target valuables left in plain sight in unattended cars, smashing the windows with a hammer to steal victims’ purses or wallets, cellphones, IDs, credit cards, checkbooks and more. Then, they use the stolen personal information to commit fraud and identity theft.

The crime happens quickly, often in broad daylight at gyms, daycare facilities, parks and other areas where someone may normally leave personal belongings in their car for a brief time. According to the FBI, the victims are almost always female.

What can you do to protect yourself?

While these smash-and-grab crimes can happen to anyone, there are steps you can take to protect your belongings and your identity.

  • Don’t leave valuables in your car. This includes everything from your purse or wallet to your phone, keys, headphones, laptop/tablet, checkbook, spare change, passport, medical paperwork and shopping bags. Believe it or not, things like a diaper bag or empty backpack can tempt a criminal who assumes there are valuables inside. At a minimum, try to hide such items from view under seats or in the trunk and always make sure to lock your vehicle. Even if you’re just running in and out of your destination, take a moment to “think like a thief” and protect your stuff.

As a reminder, never carry around your Social Security card or any other document that shows your Social Security number. Keep it in a safe place at home and memorize your number.

  • Act fast if you’re a victim. If a smash-and-grab happens to you, call the police first. Then, as soon as you can, call your financial institution to inform them and put an alert on your accounts. Acting fast will prevent criminals from using your identity to withdraw funds from your accounts.
  • Safeguard your credit. If your credit cards were stolen, notify your credit card companies right away to freeze your cards and order new ones. If personally identifying information, such as your ID, Social Security number or Medicare card were stolen, you could be at risk for identity theft.

It’s a good idea to place a fraud alert on your credit reports, which requires creditors to contact you and verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. Simply contact one of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) and they will notify the other two. For more identity theft recovery information, visit

In-person crimes like this can happen in an instant, but with a little extra awareness, you can help protect yourself. It’s worth it!

Stay Alert and Informed with Fraud Prevention Resources

Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) is here to help you stay up-to-date on the latest scams so you can protect yourself against fraud. For more helpful fraud prevention tips, tools and resources, check out our Fraud Prevention page.​

​ ​