Social media influencer Christian Aaron allegedly stole a woman’s identity, using her credit card for a $19K designer shopping spree and a trip to Hawaii.
Aaron, who has 184K Instagram followers and 43K YouTube subscribers, was indicted Friday in Suffolk County Supreme Court for stealing from a Long Island woman named Lisa Caldararo in 2017. Aaron, along with an “unnamed co-defendant,” reportedly opened up American Express cards in her name (calling the credit company to impersonate Caldararo) and booked a Hawaiian vacation at the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa. There, he allegedly purchased $19,000 worth of loot from Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel.
According to the New York Post, Aaron of Hollywood, Calif., also tried to spend $31K at The RealReal luxury consignment website but the company voided the orders.
A few months ago, Aaron posted a Facebook clip of his appearance on the Dr. Phil show discussing the hassles of fame. “Social media is a toxic place...” he captioned the video.
“As with all of the financial crimes our office investigates and prosecutes, this was an act of greed, but this defendant wasn’t just after money; he committed these crimes in part to keep up the online persona he has crafted for himself and to get likes on social media,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, according to the Post.
RELATED: 7 identity theft prevention tips for seniors
7 Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Seniors
7 Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Seniors
Make a copy of your Medicare card and block out the last four digits of your Social Security number so if you lose it or your wallet is stolen, no one can get your full Social Security number.
Seniors are often the target of phone scams. Don't respond to incoming phone calls requesting personal information. If a creditor or organization calls with a seemingly legitimate need for your personal information (account numbers, Social Security number, or credit card information), hang up and verify the phone number and legitimacy of the caller before returning the call.
Don't carry more personal documents than necessary with you when you leave the house. Leave Social Security numbers, checks, extra credit cards, Medicare cards, and financial statements in a locked security box at home or another secure location. If you're ever admitted into the hospital or other care facility, credit cards and personal documents should be locked up or put in the hands of someone you trust. Adopt a need-to-know approach to your Social Security number and mother's maiden name. If a business asks for this information, ask what it will do with the information, why the company needs it, how the company will protect it, and what will happen if you refuse to provide this information.
The federal government offers a guide to help you decide how long you need to keep various types of paperwork. Shred anything you don't need to keep, such as documents that contain account information, Social Security numbers, PINs, or sensitive information -- including credit card statements, other bills, credit card receipts, unused checks, canceled checks, and credit reports. Also shred or otherwise destroy expired credit cards and driver's licenses. And never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or gas pumps.
As tech-savvy seniors know, you should protect your computer and your Internet activity. Consult with a network professional to make sure your computer system is secure. Install antivirus software, anti-spyware, and firewall software to prevent cyber-programs that steal personal information. Use unique passwords for your computer and any online accounts and change them on a regular basis. A strong password includes a mix of numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lowercase letters. Don't use your birthday or pet's name, your phone number, or anything that could be easy to guess. Never send personal information via email, and never respond to emails asking you to verify your password, account number, Social Security number, or credit card numbers.
When you're out of town or out of the country, consider purchasing a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot so you can safely use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone while on the road. You'll need a local SIM data card, which is available at most electronic stores and at airport kiosks for travelers. This will help you avoid using public Wi-Fi spots. Also, before going on vacation, ask the post office to place a vacation hold on all mail.
Many seniors don't think about checking their credit since they're often not in the market to borrow money for a house or car. You should, however, request a free credit report via annualcreditreport.com on a regular basis. You can request your credit report from one of the three credit reporting agencies at a time (and therefore check your credit three times each year for free) or sign up for a credit monitoring service to make sure no suspicious activity occurs.
Whether you're a senior yourself or are concerned about an elderly loved one, maintaining vigilance over personal information can prevent identity theft, and regularly checking for activity in your credit file will make it easier to stop the damage faster if you do fall victim to this crime.
Fox 5 reports that Aaron is charged with identity theft, grand larceny, attempted identity theft, and “unlawful possession of personal identification information.”
Yahoo Lifestyle did not reach defense attorney Mark Muccigrosso for comment before publication and Sini did not reply to requests for comment.
Aaron’s Instagram account has him posing with sports cars, posing shirtless, and swimming in an eternity pool at the Four Seasons.
Aaron’s father David Tyler Aaron told the Post, “He’s a very good kid. I can’t imagine he would be tied up in any of this stuff. He comes from a good family. It’s a shame these allegations are being made. He has to have his day in court.”
According to Fox 5, Sini said, "This case should serve as a lesson to anyone who believes he or she can operate in anonymity by committing identity theft or other financial crimes either on the internet or over the phone. You will get caught and be held responsible."