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3 Sad but True Identity Theft Stories
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 19 people become victims of identity theft each minute. Identity theft is becoming such a common occurrence that there’s a risk of becoming numb to it. But when you read these three sad but true stories, you realize that protecting your identity has to be a top priority.
Man Steals His Brother’s Medical Identity
This sad but true identity theft story gives new meaning to the term, “all in the family.” Recently, a man in California was convicted of stealing his own brother’s medical identity. For five years the victim was saddled by tens of thousands of dollars in debt for medical treatments he never received.
According to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, 2.3 million Americans fell victim to medical identity theft in 2015. To prevent the risk of having your medical identity compromised, take the following steps:
- Request copies of your healthcare records for verification
- Store paper and electronic medical records in a secure location
- Destroy medical and health insurance documents with a trusted shredding service
- Legal documents
- Do not share medical or health insurance information over the phone
Preying on Senior Citizens
Identity theft criminals often prey on senior citizens. In a recent case, a Certified Nursing Assistant in was charged with stealing the personal information of several elderly individuals living in a Tennessee retirement community. During a mere 20 days of employment, this individual managed to steal financial documents belonging to the residents and use them to apply for credit cards online.
Seniors can protect themselves from identity theft by taking the following precautions:
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone
- Regularly check credit reports for discrepancies
- Shred personal and financial documents
- Don’t carry a Medicare card in your wallet
Tens of Millions Children’s Identities Stolen
Identity theft doesn’t just affect adults; increasingly children are being targeted for identity theft. The Identity Theft Resource Center estimates 300% increase in child identity theft victims between 2013 and 2014. In 2015, in one of the biggest data breaches of all time in the United States, tens of millions of children had their Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and healthcare ID numbers stolen when the health insurer Anthem was hacked.
Fortunately, Georgia is one of 20 states where you can put a security freeze on a child’s credit if her identity is suspected of being compromised. Use the following strategies to protect your children from becoming identity theft victims:
- Only give out your child’s Social Security Number if absolutely necessary
- Limit the personal information you share about your child on social media
- Keep Social Security cards, birth certificates and other sensitive, personal documents securely stored
Criminals target many types of individuals for identity theft and can steal your personal and financial information in myriad of ways. Stay vigilant and make privacy protection a top priority.
Records Management Center offers records and information management services for businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, plus Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. For more information, please call us or complete the form on this page.