Three Kootenai County residents were targeted in an elaborate identity theft scam where the goal was not to steal money from the victims, but to use their identities to purchase a credit card scanner.
On Friday afternoon, a Post Falls couple contacted the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office to report a possible fraud incident. According to the deputy's incident report, the couple said they received a letter from Ipayment Inc. Collection Services requesting a payment on a merchant account which was created in the name of their business.
The couple, according to the report, said the letter was "weird" because their business, Timberwood Construction, closed in 2011.
When the wife contacted Ipayment to inquire about the account, she was told that a business account was opened under Timberwood Construction in September. The woman told the deputy that although the account was opened using the correct address, a fraudulent name was used.
The deputy found several Kootenai County residents with the name used to open the account and the next day learned of another fraud incident involving Ipayment.
The victim in the other incident had his identity stolen.
"Someone attempted to use his name, and the company name of Timberwood Construction, to attempt to purchase a credit card reader," the report states. "I also learned that Ipayment was familiar with a 'theft ring' out of Nigeria, and that Ipayment employees have been working with similar cases since 2009."