Court documents say the former branch manager of a bank in Lincoln used her position to secure more than $700,000 in fraudulent loans.
Forty-year-old Teri Weber was the branch manager at Citi-Financial at 48th and Van Dorn in Lincoln.
She was arrested by Lincoln Police Thursday morning on three counts of theft by deception. Court documents say she changed the names and social security numbers of some customers and then used the identities to secure loans for herself.
"We didn't lose money, we lost our identity, you just feel like a victim," says Beth Weber. Beth and her husband Bruce say at least four loans were taken out in their names. One totaling $120,000.
"That just flabbergasted us."
Coincidentally, the Webers and one other victim share the same last name as Teri Weber, although none are related.
Beth says she has a problem refinancing her mortgage in 2000. The credit company told her she had another mortgage at Citifinancial, a mortgage she knew she didn't have.
"We went and talked with the branch manager, they said they'd get it cleared up," says Beth.
The branch manager was Teri Weber. She says Teri Weber faxed her a report. It says their credit history was fine. Up until recently she assumed everything was okay. It wasn't until she got a call from an investigator who said her identity had been used to create fraudulent loans.
"That's where I felt violated. I thought, how could I let this happen?" says Beth.
Teri Weber is awaiting possible charges from the Lancaster County Attorney. Meanwhile, Beth says she'll keep trying to clean up her credit, saying the situation has been a tumultuous one.
"You really have to do your own checking - you can't trust anyone else," says Beth Weber.
Teri Weber had been an employee at Citi-Financial for more than 20 years, the last five as bank manager.
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Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods - low-tech and hi-tech - to gain access to your data. Some methods include:
- Stealing your wallet or purse containing your identification and credit and bank cards.
- Stealing your mail, including your bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information.
- Fraudulently obtaining your credit report by posing as a landlord or employer.
- Buying your personal information from “inside” sources. For example, an identity thief may pay a store, restaurant, or hotel employee for information about you.
- Taking information about you from the Internet.
While you probably can’t prevent identity thief entirely, the Better Business Bureau, along with the Federal Trade Commission, advise the following to minimize your risks:
- Before revealing any personal information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. Contact your creditors immediately if your bill doesn’t show up on time.
- Minimize the number of credit cards you carry; only carry the ones you need.
- Guard your mail from theft. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office.
- Keep items with personal information in a safe place. To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash to capture your personal information, you should tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements that you are discarding, expired charge cards and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Don’t carry your SSN card; leave it in a secure place. Give out you SSN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other forms of identification when possible.
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies- Equifax, Experian and Trans Union - every year. Make sure it is accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized.
Source: Better Business Bureau [www.bbb.org]