Real Name: Rita Carla Faulkner
Aliases: Carol Anderson
Wanted For: Identity Theft, Fraud
Missing Since: August 1992
Details: Late one Saturday evening in August of 1992, computer systems analyst Carol Anderson came home from work and looked through her mail. She found a Neiman Marcus bill, which was strange because she had not used her account for some time. She was shocked when she discovered that the bill was for over $1800. She then went to her drawer where she kept her unused cards; the Neiman's card was still there. When she called Neiman Marcus, she was told that the charges had been incurred at their store in Newport Beach, California. Carol lives in Alexandria, Virginia and had never even been to Newport Beach.
Two days later, she received another bill from another southern California department store. This one was for more than $2000. Both stores eventually cancelled the charges and Carol assumed that was the end of it. However, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, when she tried to renew her license, she was informed that it had been surrendered in another state in May of 1992. That was impossible since she hadn't been outside of the state in years. Carol and the DMV concluded that a computer entry error had been made. They had no idea that someone had stolen the real Carol Anderson's identity.
Soon, collection agencies began calling Carol, asking her to pay for purchases that she had never made. Through no fault of her own, Carol had become a "credit disaster". Meanwhile, some 3000 miles away in California, the cause of her problems was operating and shopping at will. The "other" Carol Anderson racked up a substantial bill - nearly $10,000. The bogus Carol even went so far as to sign a lease for a pricey apartment in Laguna Beach, California. She presented a list of references who thought she was the real Carol Anderson.
The real Carol Anderson back in Virginia heard about the new apartment in the most unpleasant way: she was being sued for nonpayment of rent. She asked the landlord's attorney to send her proof of the renter's identification. After some time, she received in the mail two pieces of paper: a photocopy of a Social Security card and the photocopy of a Florida driver's license with all of her data and someone else's picture. At that point, it was clear to her that her identity had been stolen.
In desperation, Carol went to the Social Security office to see if they could help her with her problem. An employee informed her that someone had come to the office with copies of Carol's marriage license and birth certificate. Since these were proper forms of identification, a duplicate Social Security card was issued. Carol could not understand how this unknown woman could have gotten access to such private information and documents. According to investigators, even the smallest bits of information can be useful to con artists and identity thieves. They can get the information from canceled checks or old tax returns that people assumed were disposed of.
The fake Carol Anderson collected paychecks in California, but thanks to her phony Social Security card, the real Carol got stuck with the tax bill. The real Carol Anderson, who has since changed her name to Carol Ryan, is determined to find the woman who stole her identity. The woman has since been identified as Rita Carla Faulkner. She was born in Texas on June 1, 1941. Faulkner has operated similar scams in Texas, Florida, and southern California. There are four different warrants out for her arrest.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 17, 1995 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Captured. Rita Faulkner has since been apprehended by the police. The full details of her capture and arrest have yet to be revealed. However, she has reportedly served her time and been released.