Crime

Reason No. 1,397 You Don't Give Your Social Security Number to a Customer Service Rep

For eight years Youlanda Rochelle Wright worked for Radio Shack as a customer service rep in its Fort Worth call center. Day after day she fielded complaint after complaint about a defective this and a busted that and how do I return an oversized item and what do you mean my 30-day money-back guarantee expired yesterday. At some point, Wright decided enough was enough, and she began keeping the customers' personal information she jotted down with each call. That included their Social Security numbers.

Radio Shack fired her in February 2007. The reason: "unauthorized use of customer information." Which means: She took customers' personal information and filled out income tax returns in their names so she could claim refunds. According to court docs, on January 21, 2007, for instance, she sent to the IRS a phony tax return claiming she was one "R.W." (hey, waitaminute) and owed $3,654. A year later, long after she'd been fired, she did the same thing to one "R.P."

Wright copped to her crime this morning in Fort Worth federal court -- one count of identity theft, one count of filing false claims. When she's sentenced in April, she could go to prison for five years and have to pay $250,000 for each count, not to mention restitution.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky