One of the top 10 increases in identity theft cases in the US was seen right here in Alabama. The state now ranks number 8 in the number of identity theft cases since the turn of the decade. With a total of 5,198 cases in 2022 thus far, this constitutes a 219% increase before we even see the end of the year!
35 states in the United States have seen a 100%+ increase in identity theft in 2022 as compared to 2019.
Reports range from credit card fraud, loan/lease fraud, phone/utilities fraud, bank fraud, employment/tax-related fraud, and government documents/benefits fraud. Criminals were able to use the influx of more people online to easily get personal information.
Take Steps To Protect Your Identity
It's always a great idea to have an identity theft protection plan in place. Here's a great way to purchase reliable protection, starting at only $7.99/mo.
Protect Yourself From Identify Theft
Whether or not you elect to purchase identity theft protection/monitoring from a service provider, it is still a necessary precaution that could save you thousands of dollars and the headache of recovering. Here are a few basic tips that you can start out with.
Check your credit score through the three main credit reporting agencies.
(Equifax, Experian and Transunion). The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows you to get a free report once a year from any of the three credit bureaus. There are also other similar services but they tend to be more limited in capability.
Get a free ID theft and recovery plan and theft report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Dispute any and all fraudulent information in your credit reports.
If you provide your creditors with an official identity theft report, debt collectors usually are prohibited from contacting you regarding theft - related debts once you send them a letter to desist.
Contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion for a free fraud alert.
You do not have to apply for an alert with all three agencies. If you notify one of them, they will alert the other two. A fraud alert can be active for up to seven years.
Place a credit freeze.
As of September 2018, consumers are allowed to freeze and unfreeze their credit report prevents anyone, including you, from accessing your credit reports. This can help prevent identity thieves from opening false accounts in your name.