ID Thief, #Caught With #Card-Maker, #Created Over 30 #Accounts: #Cops

The Chicago man who allegedly targeted elderly women for identity theft was tracked down by detectives from Highland Park and Winnetka.

Police say a Chicago man created over 30 different credit accounts and stole the identities of at least nine North Shore residents earlier this year before he was caught with equipment for manufacturing fake cards. Mitch Hinderman, 27, was arrested Nov. 20 by detectives in the 800 block of Lill Avenue in Chicago, according to Winnetka police.

Hinderman is accused of fraudulently using more than $14,000 in credit in the process as a result of a joint investigation by detectives from Highland Park, home to three of his alleged victims, and Winnetka, where six others lived.

“Detectives noted a pattern where primarily elderly women with strong credit history were being targeted,” Winnetka Police Interim Chief Marc Hornstein explained.

After he would get a hold of his victims’ personal information he would open up new credit accounts without their permission and rack up charges on them. Police got subpoenas and eventually identified Hinderman as the sole suspect in the thefts, Hornstein said.

Offering tips to avoid falling victim to ID thieves, Hornstein reminded residents to minimize the amount of mail they receive with personal bank information on it by switching to paperless billing, keep an eye out for statements from accounts you never requested, shred old paper statements, monitor your credit and know how to contact your creditors if you detect suspicious activity.

Hinderman, who could not be reached for comment, has been charged with nine felonies, including six counts of identity theft, one count of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, according to court records.

Hornstein said the Highland Park and Winnetka cases have been combined for prosecution in Lake County since identity theft can be charged in any county in the state.

Hinderman’s bond was set at $100,000 and he was released from Lake County Jail Nov. 22 after posting 10 percent of it, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office. A bond review hearing has been set for Nov. 29, according to the Lake County Clerk.