Store Employee Rips Off 35 Identities From Customers

Long Island N.Y. Oct. 26, 2007

A Verizon employee at a Green Acres Mall store in Valley Stream racked up about $2,400 on fraudulently obtained credit cards after stealing at least 35 customers' identities, authorities said yesterday.

Durraine M. Dunn, 26, of 117-11 169th St., Jamaica, pleaded not guilty in a Hempstead courtroom yesterday, a day after her arrest on fraud and forgery charges. She is being held on bail of $120,000 bond or $60,000 cash. Police said Dunn swiped the information while working as a trusted customer representative at the wireless provider's store"The victims in this case did nothing wrong," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "They went to a legitimate store and gave the information required to open an account and purchase a cell phone."

Manhattan-based Verizon Communications launched an internal probe to determine what happened and is working with authorities, said David Samberg, a spokesman for the wireless company. Det. Sgt. Thomas Reilly of Nassau's Crimes Against Property Squad said investigators believe Dunn stole identities only of customers she helped - not any from the wireless provider's customer database.During routine transactions, Dunn dealt with picture identification cards and Social Security numbers as well as birth dates, police said.Dunn used the information to apply for credit cards she had sent to her Jamaica address, officials said. She charged gift cards, shoes, air conditioners and flat-screen televisions, Reilly said. Authorities began investigating Dunn after a Maryland man filed an Aug. 17 missing-wallet report with the Port Authority at Kennedy Airport.Transactions made with the unidentified man's credit card were traced to a shoe store at Green Acres Mall. An employee of the store who recognized Dunn said she made the purchase. A search warrant served at Dunn's home Tuesday turned up numerous forged credit card applications and customers' personal information, authorities said.Customers of the Verizon store and of a Sprint store at Green Acres, where Dunn worked more than a year, should have their credit reviewed, Rice said. She also urged customers to call Nassau's identity theft hotline at 516-571-0677.

Alisa Madden, 30, of Lynbrook, ran a credit check after reading about the fraud on, and everything appeared OK. She had purchased a cell phone at the mall's Verizon store in August. "It makes me feel violated," she said. You take for granted all the information you put out here until something like this happens."

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