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