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September 09, 2015

Observant UPS driver foils credit card scheme in South Jersey, police say

Police in Evesham, Burlington County, are crediting an observant UPS driver for derailing an identity theft-credit card scam last week in the township.

The driver contacted police on Sept. 4 about 4:35 p.m. after noticing that he was delivering an unusual number of American Express cards to homes. He also told police he thought his truck was being followed by a suspicious man in an SUV.

Police said they responded to the area of Goldenrod Lane and found the vehicle described by the driver.

The man, Priamo Raphael Lopez-Toro, 40, of Paterson, allegedly gave officers conflicting stories about why he was in the area and why he was following the delivery truck, according to police. A search of the vehicle turned up stolen UPS packages with credit cards addressed to township residents, plus a sheet containing dozens of UPS tracking numbers for deliveries to residents in Evesham, Cherry Hill and Voorhees, police said.

After an investigation, Evesham police allege Lopez-Toro was able to compromise residents' identities as part of a scam to fraudulently order credit cards.

He was charged with four counts of third-degree credit card theft and sent to Burlington County Jail in default of $10,000 full bail.

The investigation remains active, and any residents who think they have been victims of identity theft are asked to contact the Evesham police at (856) 983-1118. Police said they contacted everyone on the tracking number sheet.

Residents should be proactive in protecting their identities. Retired FBI Agent Jeff Lanza offered the following advice:

• Monitor your credit reports. If someone has stolen your identity to open a new account, it should show up as an entry into one or more of the three reporting agencies that keep track of your credit history. All of them – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – monitor your credit, and you’re entitled to one free report per year from each agency. Getting this report will at least give you a snapshot view of the security of your identity. For even more protection, you might consider a credit monitoring service that will alert you when there’s an entry in your credit file.

• If your identity is stolen, or a purse or wallet is lost or stolen, take action immediately. Call any one of the three credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on your account. If accounts have already been opened, file a police report immediately and contact each creditor to tell them you’ve been victimized.