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Were you aware that more than three thousand cases of identity theft were reported in South Carolina in a recent 12-month period? Such crimes are becoming more prevalent as thieves use the good names and credit ratings of unsuspecting victims; some of their favorite uses of stolen information are expensive retail purchases, medical procedures and surgeries, payday loans taken out in multiple states at the same time, and new vehicle purchases.
Even the IRS is reporting an increase in tax-related identity theft. Scammers use social security numbers and other details to file fraudulent tax returns; when honest taxpayers go to file their legitimate returns, they discover that another return was already submitted using their information, and the refund was sent to the identity thieves.
If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, it is highly recommended that you file reports with both your local police department in South Carolina and the Federal Trade Commission, and also with the IRS if your case involves federal tax fraud.
You can protect yourself from identity theft in South Carolina with the help of Identity Theft Protection services. For a reasonable price, your personal information is watched around the clock and any suspected fraudulent activity is detected and flagged immediately. Because many cases of identity theft go unnoticed until the damage has already been done, these services offer significant peace of mind.
Also, you can ensure that your personal details are safe in your habits online and offline. Don't give so much information on social networking sites that criminals can guess the "challenge" questions needed to access your accounts without a password. Watch for impersonators of trusted businesses who hope to get you to download a file in your email to "fix" your account; contact those businesses directly using customer service numbers you know and trust (i.e. that are listed on your credit card or account statements). Finally, keep your social security card and other important identity-bearing documents in a safe place in your home.
In these ways, you can make it much less likely that you will become a victim of identity theft in South Carolina.
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