Identity Theft is Fraud

Identity Theft is Fraud

Identity theft generally occurs as part of another crime, such as credit card fraud, check fraud or mortgage fraud. It means stealing your “identifying information” like your social security number, date of birth, phone numbers, etc., all the usual information needed to open a charge account for instance.

Once a thief has your identifying information, they can open new charge accounts in your name or take out a loan in your name or take over and withdraw funds from your bank or checking account or tap into and take money out of your home equity line of credit.

Identify thieves even use false Id when committing a crime and that can result in an arrest warrant being issued for YOU!

If you are a victim of fraud, we can help. Call us at 1-888-331-6422 or email us today for a Free Fraud Case Review!

Identity theft can take on many forms, but it generally includes getting your personal information such as Social Security number, date of birth, your mother’s maiden name (used by many online services to verify your identity), bank account numbers, current and old address information, and more – all for use in criminal activities.

The problems identity theft can cause are enormous and can be long-lasting. You can lose your ability to write or cash checks, get credit, buy a home or you could even get arrested for crimes committed by the identity thief.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that about 5 percent of the entire adult US population are victims of identity theft and it costs more than $52.6 billion a year in losses to business and people alike. Oddly, over half of consumer victims experience identity theft by a stranger taking over control of their existing credit cards. Thieves who use stolen data to set up new credit accounts, victimize over 3 million consumers each year and cause losses of over $36 billion ($32.9 billion to businesses and financial institutions and $3.8 billion to individuals).

Identity Theft Indications—Has Your Identity Been Stolen?

Here are some tips that may indicate your identity has been stolen:

  • Charges to your credit card or accounts that you did not authorize.
  • If your credit is denied but you know you have a good credit history.
  • If creditors call you about accounts you didn’t know you even had
  • If you don’t get your credit card or bank statements in the mail when expected.
  • If a new or renewed credit card is not received.

Identity Theft Fraud Prevention Measures

Things you can do to avoid becoming an identity theft victim:

  • Never give out your credit information over the phone, unless you are the one who placed the call.
  • Store your credit and personal identifying information in a safe place.
  • Shred credit card receipts and/or old statements before throwing them away
  • Protect your PINs and passwords.
  • Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information.
  • Sign up for the Do Not Call list to avoid telemarketers.
  • Once a year order a copy of your credit report from the 3 national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union), and then go over each carefully.
  • Look at your driver license to see if it has your Social Security Account Number on it. If it does, get a new one that does not disclose your SSN.
  • Close out your old credit card or bank accounts if you don’t use them.
  • Know when your monthly bills arrive in the mail and be suspicious if they don’t arrive on time.
  • Check bank account statements carefully.
  • Never mail bills from your mail box.

Things to Do If You are a Victim of Identity Theft

  • Call the fraud departments of the three national credit agencies and ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit record. If your state allows it, ask them to “lock” your credit record from access.
  • If any fraudulent charge accounts have been opened (or taken over), notify the fraud department both by telephone and in writing.
  • Close all tampered or fraudulent accounts.
  • File a police report.
  • If the theft occurred out of town, notify that city’s police department.
  • Get copies of all police reports you file.

If you are a victim of fraud, we can help. Call us at 1-888-331-6422 or email us today for a Free Fraud Case Review!

For more information about Ohio Consumer Law and consumer fraud visit our Ohio Consumer Law site.

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