A recent search of a Massachusetts man yielded 30 drivers licenses and numerous credit and social security cards after a store clerk tipped police off to suspicious behavior. Police went on to speak with at least six individuals linked to the contraband and all said that the man had stolen their information.
Identity theft is on the rise, with over 16 million people affected in 2017 alone and many wonder what they can do to protect themselves from becoming victims.
One line of defense is a credit freeze, made widely available to consumers last month. Freezing credit prevents lenders from being able to access a borrower’s credit report, which can foil many attempts to qualify for new credit cards or take out a loan by someone other than the borrower.
Credit freezes have been recommended as a way to prevent identity theft but they only go so far. While thieves may not be able to open new accounts they can certainly take advantage of accounts that are already opened. With a only a few pieces of information, identity thieves can tap into existing accounts to make fraudulent charges on credit cards, file bogus tax returns, or even obtain medical care using a person’s medical insurance account or social security number.
To thwart identity theft, it is important to secure your information and check accounts and credit reports regularly for fraudulent activity including address changes you did not authorize. Look out for activity identity thieves may use to get your information and find ways to defend yourself.
Shred Financial Documents
Identity theft may start at your dumpster, where a thief can piece together enough info from bills and statements to get their foot in the door on your finances. Consider shredding financial documents before putting them on the curb.
Identity thieves may also steal mail taking advantage of pre-approved credit card offers or accessing information in general. Keep a lock on your box and limit pre-screened offers by contacting credit reporting companies for help.
The internet is rife with phishing schemes where unsuspecting people divulge personal information which will then be used for fraudulent purposes. Do not be lured into providing information such as social security numbers or other private info that gives an identity thief a leg up.
It may be straight-up theft to consider, which includes picking pockets or purses, smash and grabs from cars or homes or an employee accessing personal records from companies – all providing access to sensitive financial information.
With Identity theft on the rise, law enforcement is keen to reverse the trend and you can bet more people will be arrested and charged with identity theft. A conviction for identity theft can result in significant spans of incarceration and fines depending on the circumstances. Whether it is one-off by a teenager not thinking about the consequences, an employee short on money or a seasoned criminal, identity theft is punished as serious crime.
Contact An Experienced Identity Theft : Fraud Defense Lawyer
Identity theft charges have serious consequences! If you are charged with identity theft in Wisconsin, it is important to get help from an attorney that has many years of experience with defending individuals charged with identity theft. Contact the Waukesha criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C Ladd LLC for immediate assistance with crimes of identity theft, employee theft, credit card fraud, bank fraud, possession of stolen property, shoplifting or other Wisconsin theft crimes, so you can turn things around. Call our experienced criminal defense attorneys today at 262-542-3900.