(Cordova,TN) Shelby County SWAT officers forced their way into a home on Par View and found an operation that could have put families at risk for identity theft.
Mareco Bell, 40, is charged with ID theft trafficking.
He’s charged with running an underground operation making bank cards, credit cards, checks, and even state-issued IDs.
To help him pull off making the bogus cards and checks, Bell is accused of stealing medical records, tax returns, and the social security numbers of other people.
“Girl, let me check to see if he took something from me,” said a panicking Nora Walker.
She lives on the same block as Bell.
Walker was stunned the alleged theft ring was going on in her neighborhood.
“Yeah I'm concerned. Wouldn’t you be? Girl, please, your life is out there. Your everything is out there,” said Walker.
“He lived two doors down from you,” pointed out WREG’s Elise Preston.
“You know what, you keep saying that. Don’t say that no more cause it’s scary,” said Walker.
Walker checked her mailbox Thursday, just to make sure Bell didn’t get his hands on any of her information.
Fraud expert Andy Wilson, with Wilson and Turner Incorporated, says there are more steps you can take to protect yourself from being a victim of someone like Bell.
“One of the things we can all do is run our credit report. We can do that three times a year for free,” said Wilson.
He also stresses to invest in a shredder.
You can get them fairly cheap and they help crooks from getting your information.
Because if they do, “it typically takes a year to get your good name straightened out and it costs you money,” advised Wilson.
It cost Walker a headache when someone stole her ID a few years ago.
“I had a livid fit. I stayed on them Equifax folks until they got it right,” said Walker.
It’s a hassle she says she won’t go through again.
Bell heads back to court later this month.