ATLANTA — The FBI is warning about the ease with which identities can be stolen after recalling an Atlanta case that sent an Atlanta man to federal prison.
The bureau published a news item this week featuring an interview with an FBI agent in the Atlanta Field Office, Marcus Brackman, who worked the case last year.
“Criminals can buy identities for 50 cents on the dark web,” Brackman told the FBI’s news site.
Khoi Nguyen was originally arrested by Atlanta Police more than a year ago after trying to pick up a new debit card for an account linked to fraud and then presenting himself as a law enforcement agent.
Brackman said at that time, Nguyen had 20 cell phones, 13 IDs and a number of credit cards on him, as well as $11,000 in cash.
The FBI agent characterized the case as an example of how vulnerable the public is to identity theft.
“Identity theft is very prevalent,” he said. “It is just painful to do your job and raise your family while trying to deal with the aftereffects of someone stealing your identity.”
Citing the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the FBI said at least count, in 2016, an estimated 26 million people over the age of 16 were victims of identity theft.
Last October, Nguyen pleaded guilty to federal identity theft charges and was sentenced to two years in prison.
“Nguyen brazenly stole thousands of dollars from a financial institution to line his pockets,” the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Byung J. “BJay” Pak said then.
According to federal prison records, Nguyen is locked up at a medium security prison in Louisiana, with a release date for this October.