A Bakersfield woman whose phone was stolen is fighting to get her bank to return the funds that were illegally pilfered from her account, while she is also fighting to make a report to an understaffed and underfunded Kern County Sheriff’s Department… a theft that she says is particularly important because in addition to emptying her entire bank account, the crooks tried to buy illegal guns using her name.
The unidentified woman has mental health issues that were exacerbated by the initial crime, then multiplied when the thief continued trying to hack into her bank account, her credit cards and social media accounts as she tried frantically to stay one step ahead of them by changing passwords. The attacks on her account have continued for more than a week.
As a result of the theft, she was unable to pay her rent, her utilities or even buy food.
Meanwhile, in a sign of the times with our overstretched Sheriff’s Department, she was left her sitting on a concrete bench outside the sheriff’s office for four hours until the office closed, never once seeing an officer.
Deputies finally came to the woman’s door at 3:30 the following morning to take a report, the earliest anyone was available to do so.
Now the victim also fears the chance that the criminals are successful in getting guns under her name with their stolen identity information, and the entire community, may face continued danger from them.
After contacting the Sheriff’s department, KNZR was told no one other than the victim can file a report in spite of her Autistic diagnosis leading to severe anxiety, and ultimately she was forced to wait 14 hours to file a report.
In an effort to help herself, the victim used information left in her accounts by the thief to learn the identities of at least three other individuals who received the stolen money, and the name and address of the person who sent that cash to them.
Due to Christmas shopping, this is a particularly bad time for theft and the Kern County Sheriff’ Department encourages everyone to be careful to safeguard your personal information to keep crooks from targeting you as their next victim.