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      May 21, 2018

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Identity Theft in North Carolina

North Carolina MapIdentity theft is a big business in the United States, to the tune of $50 billion in damages in a typical 12-month timeframe. Criminals use stolen personal information in a number of ways, such as filing fraudulent tax returns and walking away with taxpayers' refunds, which is only discovered when those taxpayers go to file their legitimate returns and learn that one was already entered for that year; obtaining health care, often for expensive procedures like liposuction and joint replacement surgery; getting employment using someone else's good name and records; opening multiple lines of credit to make extravagant retail purchases or buy new cars; or even to give an alias to authorities in the event of the criminals' arrest!

In North Carolina, more than 6,700 cases of identity theft were reported to the Federal Trade Commission in a recent year, representing a rate of 72.5 for every 100,000 in the state's population. Fortunately, there are ways for people to protect themselves against this intrusive, disruptive crime.

One strategy gaining popularity in North Carolina is to use paid Identity Theft Protection services. For a reasonable price, customers can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their personal information - name, birth date, social security number, and more - is being tracked around the clock, so that any attempts to use their identity fraudulently will be detected immediately. Given that many instances of identity theft go unnoticed for days, weeks, or months, this instant notification and response save customers both time and heartache.

Of course, nothing replaces wise personal decision-making when it comes to safeguarding one's identity in North Carolina. Simple things like destroying labels on prescription medication bottles before recycling or putting them in the trash, keeping social security cards at home instead of in wallets or purses, and making passwords on devices and online accounts difficult to guess can help the average person to be less likely to experience identity theft.

 

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