Keeping one’s social security number sacred is common knowledge, and one might think that to even bother mentioning it might be preaching to the choir. Yet with all the warnings, Identity Theft is a growing problem. Reports are made to the Better Business Bureau on a daily basis, and our phone representatives are quick to give those victims guidance on how to proceed.
A couple of incidences have been brought to our bureau’s attention recently regarding identity theft. One report mentioned that a child’s social security and Medicaid cards were stolen from her mother’s purse. Later, when she made the discovery that they were missing, it was brought to her attention that another child apparently was posing as her son and receiving care at a local hospital.
The other report mentioned via social media that a person’s identity was compromised by a criminal who committed murder. The victim of the ID theft is serving time for the other person’s crime. How accurate this is, we aren’t sure, but could it be possible?
The movie “ID Thief” was funny and entertaining. While it is Hollywood fiction, parts of it could really happen. We’d rate the movie high for its entertainment and educational value.
If you are an identity theft victim, file a report with the police. Often, a police report is requested when filing with other agencies. From there contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Definitely, have a fraud alert placed on your file with the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union,) by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. For more comprehensive information regarding do’s and don’ts for Identity Theft Victims, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s brochure on “Taking Charge: What to do if Your Identity is Stolen?” And, of course turn to BBB for any assistance.
To ward off Identity Theft, be aware and take simple measures to safeguard yourself. Consider not carrying around social security cards and/or insurance cards. Most doctors’ offices, once they have them on file, no longer need to see them. Do what you can in all circumstances to look out for and protect yourself.
Your Better Business Bureau
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