Recurring Identity Theft Tops List of Identity Fraud Trends

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft once, there’s a good chance it’ll happen again, according to LibertyID’s Lead Restoration Specialist Suzanne Ford.

“If you’ve been a victim already, criminals will sell and trade your info and it’ll happen again,” Ford said. “Typically when it resurfaces two or three months down the road, the info has been bought or sold criminal to criminal, and the next criminal is on a rampage and will throw 18 things at the wall to see what sticks,” said Ford, detailing how the thieves will submit online applications all at the same time as there seems to be a “higher probability one or most of those applications will get through.”

It’s for this very reason that when Ford begins working with an identity theft victim initially, she recommends they lock up their credit reports by placing a credit freeze at the three credit reporting agencies. We detail how to do that here.

Recently Ford reopened a case for a police officer who was victimized previously.

“He told me, ‘I should have done this when you told me to before,’” Ford recalled.

Alas, he didn’t and another criminal started yet another rampage trying to open new accounts using his name and Social Security number.

“He had eight credit inquiries in two days,” Ford said.

This would be considered New Account Fraud, a type of identity theft that  often happens when a criminal gets their hands on your Social Security number and personal information through a data breach, stolen mail, phishing scam or another of the many common ways and uses it to open new accounts (credit cards, cell phones, you name it) in your name. They then proceed to max out those cards, leaving your ruined credit in their wake. You might not know anything is amiss until a collection agency suddenly starts calling. It’s terrifying, and it happens more than you realize. You can read more about New Account Fraud here.

As detailed in this Los Angeles Times story, reporter David Lazarus knows a thing or two about recurring identity theft. Lazarus had his identity stolen years ago by a guy in Connecticut who “ran up unpaid bills with credit card companies and Indian casinos.” Lazarus investigated the case himself, which led to the thief’s arrest and conviction for Social Security fraud. He figured that was that and he wouldn’t have to deal with it moving forward.

Wrong.

Years later, Lazarus got a call for the thief, who was being sought in connection with an unpaid hospital bill in Connecticut.

Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for San Diego’s Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, calls this type of recurrence, “one of the most significant problems with identity theft. Once your information gets out there, it can stay out there.”

Millions of Americans have their identity stolen every year, and they don’t know how to repair the damage. If you’re a LibertyID member and your identity is stolen, we will fix it. Our certified restoration specialists could save you hundreds of hours of work by placing fraud alerts, making all the necessary phone calls, filing the disputes and contacting government agencies, creditors, insurance companies and more. There’s no limit to the time or money we will spend to restore your identity to pre-event status. Sign up for an annual LibertyID subscription now and rest easy knowing our certified restoration specialists know just how to repair the damage.

 


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