Protect Your Identity
You can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of one of the fastest growing crimes, identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when a thief uses personal information like your bank account or Social Security number to pretend to be you, opening a new account or credit card in your name.
By posing as a real person, the thief runs up bills but never pays, leaving you with credit problems. Identity theft costs businesses billions of dollars each year, and it costs consumers their good names. The growing scourge of medical identity theft
adds another, more dangerous element for victims: contamination of their medical records.
By guarding your information and closely monitoring credit reports or freezing your credit reports
you can fight back. Find tips on how to keep your personal information out of the hands of thieves.
North Carolina ID Theft Facts
Nearly 13 million people in the US are victims of ID theft each year. In North Carolina, about 400,000 people are victimized annually. (Javelin Strategy and Research, 2015
) North Carolina ranks 27th in the nation in terms of identity theft, tied with Louisiana. Four North Carolina cities or regions (Jacksonville, Durham/Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, and the Charlotte area) rank in the top 100 metropolitan areas for identity theft complaints. (The Charlotte market includes reports from Gastonia, Concord, and neighboring Rock Hill in South Carolina.) (FTC, 2015
The identities of more than 7.2 million North Carolinians have been put at greater risk of ID theft by the more than 2,600 security breaches
reported to us since December 2005.
Cost to Businesses and Consumers
Consumers lose billions of dollars to identity theft each year, and businesses lose tens of billions. It is estimated that individual victims who are working to restore their good names and credit spend about $500, and dozens of hours, trying to undo the damage.
Many victims suffer in other ways, including being denied credit, being harassed by creditors for bills that aren’t really theirs, having their utilities cut off, getting sued, or being arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.