When a woman was arrested last week for identity theft and other charges, it became clear to local authorities that there may be other victims in Hamilton County and the surrounding area. Jennifer Shrum, who has a middle Tennessee address, was arrested July 1, 2021 by the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Special Investigations Bureau and the United States Postal Inspector.
Jennifer Shrum has a history with identity theft. In March 2018, using the name of Diane Haworth, she was arrested by East Ridge Police and charged with 17 counts of Identity Theft. Police said Haworth would fraudulently sign up for the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery in the name of the victims. She would then receive e-mail images of what pieces of mail her victims were scheduled to receive on specific days. Police said that Haworth would then schedule mail thefts to intercept specific letters and packages and “facilitate her ongoing identity theft activity.” Haworth made multiple purchases with credit obtained in the name of the victims.
Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston commended the two agencies for making the arrest and added that there is reason to believe there may be more victims. “If you notice any odd changes with your mail service, such as strange mail or even not getting mail, you need to be suspicious,” said General Pinkston. “You should check your bank accounts and credit reports regularly and if you discover transactions you didn’t make, contact your local police department immediately.” General Pinkston said you can also report a scam directly to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at https://www.uspis.gov/report. Shrum is currently being held in the Hamilton County jail on no bond until her arraignment hearing.
In 2017, nearly 16.7 million people had their identities stolen by thieves who unlawfully accessed their personal and financial information. Once your personal information is in the hands of a scammer, you could lose your money, your good credit rating, and your overall financial health. “Identity theft is not a harmless crime,” said THP Colonel Matt Perry. “It can sometimes take years to financially recover from identity theft. Please monitor your financial records closely, and report any unauthorized transactions to local law enforcement,” added Perry.
Follow and share these tips from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to protect yourself and others against identity theft:
– Do not use your mailbox for outgoing mail. Deposit outgoing mail into USPS® Blue Collection Boxes before the last collection time or at your local post office.
– Closely monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards and contact the issuer if you don’t receive a replacement prior to the expiration date.
– Keep track of your credit and check your credit reports annually.
– Never give personal information over the phone or Internet unless you initiated the contact and you are sure the company is legitimate.
– Don’t give your personal identifying information such as name, date of birth, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, or bank PIN code with someone you don’t know
and don’t trust.
– Sign new credit cards right when you get them—before someone else does. If you applied for a card and did not receive it when expected, call the financial institution.
– Never carry your Social Security card or birth certificate with you.