Man steals friend’s identity to open RG&E account

Identity Theft

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Imagine someone else using your personal information to set up an RG&E account in your name at their home. It happened recently to a man in Ontario County.

Identity theft is not new to investigators at the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Lee Martin of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office said, “We do a lot of identity thefts where a person will have an account opened in their name, generally it’s out of state. Usually, it’s not in the same geographical area where they live.”

And usually, it’s not a friend, ripping off another friend. But that’s exactly what investigators say Charles Mendez did.

When he ran up his RG&E bill to the point his service got shut off, Lt. Martin says Mendez opened a new account, at the same address using a friend’s name, date of birth, and social security number. 

Lt. Martin said, “So he ended up opening a new account using this person’s personal information and then ran up about $2,200- $2,400 in charges on that account because he wasn’t paying that account either.”

The victim in this case was visiting Mendez in Shortsville when he found an RG&E bill with his name on it.
He called the sheriff’s office right away who worked with RG&E to uncover what happened. 

Mendez didn’t answer the door when News10NBC’s Jennifer Lewke knocked.

A spokeswoman for RG&E said, “If customers notice activity out of the ordinary on their account, we urge them to alert the authorities and call customer service representatives who will send customers a fraud packet, which needs to be filled out and submitted, along with a copy of the police report.”

But had the victim not seen that bill, who knows how long it would have taken to realize he’d been the victim of identity theft. 

“Run your credit reports often if you can, keep an eye on your credit, if something shows up on your credit report that doesn’t belong there, that you didn’t open, get a hold of the company it was open under, get a hold of the police so that way we can get a report and start an investigation,” said Lt. Martin.

And it can’t hurt to watch the company you keep.