PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Pflugerville police arrested a woman who they say had more than 50 people’s identifying information in a purse, including debit cards, checks, mail and property tax information. A Pflugerville neighbor called the police asking for help on Monday, saying a woman named Cameron Gott had felony warrants and was trying to collect money from her at her house for a hot check.
An officer at the scene noted Gott initially claimed to be named Jessica Ybarra and presented police with Ybarra driver’s license, an affidavit states. Police say when they searched Gott’s purse, they found 57 different people’s identifying information. Gott allegedly had 34 checks, with some of the amounts erased and altered. She also allegedly had 19 credit/debit cards, mail, property tax statements, credit card applications, and photocopies of driver’s licenses and social security cards. Police also say they found a gram of methamphetamine in Gott’s purse.
Gott is charged with multiple counts, including fraudulent use or possession of identifying information — a first-degree felony. Police also charged her with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and possession of a controlled substance.
Gott also allegedly had felony warrants including the following:
- two charges of forgery
- attempt to commit fraud
- unauthorized absence from a community correctional facility
KXAN reached out to the Pflugerville Police Department to find out if the arrest is connected to larger identify theft rings. Lieutenant Laura Wilkes with the Pflugerville Police Department released a statement by email regarding the arrest.
“As far as updates on the case, it is an ongoing investigation, attempting to locate victims and working with surrounding agencies,” Wilkes said in the statement. “There is no more or new information other than what is in the affidavit.”
Identify theft in Central Texas
Meanwhile, police have caught several identify thieves in Central Texas in the past year. In one previous case from April 2014, police discovered a mail-theft ring operating in upscale Austin neighborhoods that had stolen more than 340 people’s information from mailboxes. In another case, a Temple couple pleaded guilty last year to stealing more than 50,000 pieces of mail with identifying information throughout Central Texas.
The Center for Identity at the University of Texas points out that identity theft happens every two seconds. The warnings about providing too much personal information online have been around for years, but identity theft is still so rampant. The Center on Tuesday looked at ways the public can better protect their personal information, like a birth date or social security number.
The reason criminals want someone’s online identity is because it’s a currency that can be bought and sold, according to the Center’s director. The best way to determine if your online identity has been compromised is to monitor the places personal information is provided. The most valuable information is a birth date, mother’s maiden name, and address. A social security number is also extremely valuable.