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Woman cleared in rental scam victim of ID theft

Posted at 5:28 PM, May 25, 2016

A day after the Bakersfield Police Department eliminated her as a suspect in an online rental scam, Nicole Ortiz said that it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off her back.

On March 24th, BPD released a press release detailing a search they were conducting for a woman identified as "Nicole Ortiz". Two pictures from Nicole Ortiz's Facebook page appeared on the release as well.

READ: BPD looking for suspect wanted in a rental scam

During an interview Wednesday, Ortiz recalled the day she found out she was being identified as a suspect.

"I got off work and I was going to the grocery store and my phone started to go off," said Ortiz. 

A message from a friend caught her eye.

"It said the police are looking for you, Ortiz said.
 
"My first reaction is 'what are you talking about?'" 
 
 
A two month journey to clear her name began, as Ortiz called BPD and attorney Clayton Campbell within a few hours. 
 
"We got GPS information from her phone showing where she was on the day in question," Campbell said.
 
"We got information from coworkers, statements from all these coworkers as to her alibi."
 
Ortiz says she has some closure now, but questions still remain.
 
"How do you recover from all this? How do you move on?," Ortiz said.
 
"I have our Kern County citizens who now my name is basically tarnished. People are going to look at my name and remember something like this. And I think that part is very sad and unfortunate."
 
Ortiz wants to use her story as a warning against the peril of identity theft.
 
"I definitely look at social media totally different," Ortiz said.
 
"Will I ever be on social media again? Probably not. All of this stems from a picture and my name from social media."
 
BPD says the investigation is still ongoing.