An American who travels frequently to Mexico has been stuck there since the beginning of March because someone reportedly stole his identity, the man’s lawyer said.
Carlos Montoya lives in Los Angeles but went to Mexico for epilepsy treatment, his lawyer said in a March 23 news conference. When border agents took Montoya’s fingerprints as he attempted to cross the border a few weeks ago, a different man’s photo was associated with Montoya’s name, reportedly leading the agents to arrest Montoya.
Montoya’s lawyer, Luis Carrillo, said agents accused his client of being an impostor, but Montoya and his family think he’s the identity theft victim in this situation. Montoya does not have a U.S. passport and said he had previously traveled between the countries using his California ID, Social Security card and birth certificate.
Carrillo said agents arrested and imprisoned Montoya for three days before they allegedly pressured him to sign a document for his release, reports KABC in Los Angeles. Montoya remains stranded in Mexico while trying to work with the U.S. Consulate there to get a passport, KABC reports.
Though it’s unclear what happened in this situation, it is possible identity theft played a role. Identity theft can manifest in several ways, considering how many things are tied to people’s names, birth dates and Social Security numbers. There are many things consumers can do to reduce the negative impact of identity theft, like monitoring their credit and regularly reviewing their financial accounts, but for some things, there’s no way to know about identity theft until after something bad happens.
Regularly review your records for accuracy — you can get a free credit report summary from Credit.com to watch for possible signs of credit fraud, like new accounts you didn’t authorize. Be prepared to act quickly if you discover a likely identity theft incident, so you can try to prevent extensive damage to your identity and finances.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
- What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Identity Theft?