Reports of ID theft grows statewide
|By: Gretchen Bartelt, News 14 Carolina|
|12/6/2006 – RALEIGH — The number of people reporting identity theft in North Carolina has more than tripled in the past few years, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission.
Law enforcement officials say it’s unclear whether there’s more crime going on or if more people are aware of it. Either way, it’s a trend they say they are trying to buck.
Identity theft comes in many varieties. Recently, in Raeford, criminals used stolen ID numbers to make hundreds of Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and picture IDs. In another case, police say a suspect pretended to be another man for 12 years after stealing a wallet. And Johnston County taxpayers just found out their personal information was made public online.
Recently, in Raeford, criminals used stolen ID numbers to make hundreds of Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and picture IDs.
Cooper says you should only give out your social security number when absolutely necessary. It’s also advised that you don’t carry the card with you.
“That number is the crowbar for an identity thief,” Cooper added.
And, he says, it’s not enough just to throw out paperwork. Make sure old bank statements, insurance forms and credit applications are shredded.
North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper says the Social Security number is the “crowbar for an identity thief.”
Studies show that about 300,000 people are victims of identity theft each year in the Tar Heel State.
Two new state laws just went into effect that may help combat identity theft. State and local agencies now have to alert people if their personal information has been lost or stolen, and businesses now face more limits in how they use their clients’ social security numbers.