With the recent 2018 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research, identifying that identity theft has been rising over the last three years, consumers should be vigilant in ways to avoid becoming a victim, but also be aware if they have become a victim, and the sooner the better. One great source is the Federal Trade Commission’s site, identitytheft.gov.
What do thieves do with your information?
According to identitytheft.gov, once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.
Warning signs of identity theft
Identitytheft.gov offers these clues that someone has stolen your personal information.
n You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
n You don’t get your bills or other mail.
n Merchants refuse your checks.
n Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
n You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
n Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
n Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
n A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
n The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
n You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
If your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft. These can be viewed at identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.
BBB’s Shred and E-cycle events
Your BBB is host two free community events for consumers and businesses to safely dispose of personal documents and unwanted electronics:
n 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 21, Lowe’s parking lot, Shoppes at Trace Fork, 50 RHL Blvd., South Charleston, West Virginia;
n 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 28, Marshall University parking lot, Corner of 3rd Ave. & 16th St., Huntington.
Visit bbb.org/canton to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam with Scam Tracker, read tips, follow on social media and more. The Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.