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Washington State has the 15th highest rate of identity theft in America, with 77.2 reported cases for every 100,000 residents in the population. While this might not sound like an alarming number, the more than 5,000 people who were victimized in this way in a recent year are well aware of identity theft's costly, time-consuming impact on an individual's life.
When a person's identity is stolen, it can lead to difficulties in obtaining credit for mortgages or other loans, in passing a credit check needed to rent an apartment, or even in filing taxes, as the IRS is reporting an increasing number of tax-related identity theft cases where fraudulent returns are filed and the refund is taken by the criminal who submitted it rather than received by the taxpayer. At worst, every year a number of people are falsely imprisoned for crimes committed by people who used stolen identities as aliases while conducting their illegal activities.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent identity theft. One simple method is to use strong passwords on both online accounts and to lock phones and other mobile devices; such passwords usually use a string of letters and numbers in a combination meaningful to the user but nearly impossible to guess at random. Another strategy is to learn to recognize impostors online and offline: those who are hoping to get social security numbers, account information, and other pieces of data by pretending to be a trusted business or governmental agency.
When in doubt, Washington residents should use customer service numbers provided on account statements or on the back of credit cards, or log directly into their accounts by entering the URL directly rather than clicking on links provided in emails. They should also be aware that most companies will not ask for such information to ever be disclosed over the phone unless such calls are initiated by the customer.
In addition, Identity Theft Protection services are available to Washington citizens who would like the added layer of safeguards offered by having 24-hour monitoring of their personal information.
Identity Theft In The News
A woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for felony identity theft in connection to serial squatting, in which she fraudulently leased residences and failed to pay rents prior to evictions. H...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:27:00 GMT
DENVER (AP) - A woman accused of being a serial squatter by fraudulently leasing properties and failing to pay rent has been sentenced to six years in prison. The Denver Post reports 43-year-old Heath...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:47:00 GMT
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A new warning was issued to parents, saying it's time to start protecting children from identity fraud. A recent survey found one million kids were victims of identity ...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 16:08:00 GMT
Bad news: Identity theft has reached an all-time high. Good news: IdentityWorksSM Plus by Experian is an effective weapon against this rising threat. Criminals can nab far more than just your name on ...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 10:25:00 GMT
Gavin Karpinsky never worried about having his identity stolen, but that's because he's five-years-old and more concerned about playing super hero with his twin brother. "I was shocked," said Heather ...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:57:00 GMT
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