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Childrens' identities stolen in social security scam, what parents need to do right now

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Posted at 2:36 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 18:23:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Children were the main targets in a recent Social Security identity theft operation.

According to the State Police Special Investigations Unit, suspects in the city of Buffalo and town of Amherst were using Social Security numbers stolen from children as young as 11-years-old.

Darrius R. Outling, 49 of Buffalo, NY, charged with four counts of Identity Theft 1st Degree; two counts Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree; one count Identity Theft 2nd Degree.
Robert A. Johnson Jr., 33 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count each: Identity Theft 1stDegree; Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree; Grand Larceny 3rd Degree; Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 2nd Degree.
Michael Ramsey, 55 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count each of Identity Theft 1st Degree and Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
Evelyn T. Pratcher, 47 of Amherst, NY charged with one count each of Identity Theft 1stDegree and Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
Cynthia L. Lockwood, 53 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count each of Identity Theft 1stDegree and Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
Robert A. Johnson Sr., 54 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count each of Identity Theft 1stDegree and Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
Audrey R. Garnett, 58 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count each of Identity Theft 1stDegree and Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
Andrew K. Bostic, 56 of Buffalo, NY charged with one count of Identity Theft 2nd Degree.

Investigators say in November of 2017 the New York State Police received a suspicious activity report from State Intelligence Center of Social Security numbers being used by different assigned names. NYSP SIU started a joint investigation with the OIG SSA.

Further investigation revealed 49-year-old Darrius Outling had illegally obtained Social Security numbers belonging to children living throughout the U.S.

Investigators say Outling then sold the numbers to the suspects listed above, who then used them to fraudulently obtain credit to purchase cars, jewelry, appliances and open credit cards. The total loss on the fraudulent purchases was $420,000.

7 Eyewitness News has learned that Robert A. Johnson Jr. is a Buffalo firefighter and has been suspended without pay. We have also learned that Johnson's mother, Cynthia Lockwood, who is another defendant, is Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood's cousin. Commissioner Lockwood had no comment to the media on the situation on Wednesday evening.

The OIG SSA is working with the major credit bureaus to repair the credit of the children who had their Social Security numbers stolen.

Parents can protect their children’s Social Security number by locking or freezing their credit with the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111
Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872