Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and there are many different ways crooks can get a hold of your personal information.
In our Target 2 Consumer Alert, we have some advice from someone who found out first hand what it's like to be a victim of identity theft.
"The thieves knew my personal information, contacted my credit card company and pretended to be me," said Chris Hagler, fraud victim.
Identity thieves got credit cards in Hagler's name-along with 19 other victims- and then went shopping.
"They went to a jewelry store. They selected a nice-looking gold Rolex for the price tag of $29,000," said Hagler. "I was furious. I was also in a bit of disbelief about how cold such a thing happen, especially when I am very cautious about security."
To avoid having your credit card information end up in the hands of thieves, Hagler has some advice.
"Make sure you're not using your mother's maiden name, or any family, genealogical information in your passwords."
That's because a lot of that information is on the web, and thieves know how to find it.
Another piece of advice:
"Don't have too many credit cards. Check your statements," said Eric Shen, US Postal Inspector.
"It's very unnerving to know that someone out there is pretending to be you, have your mother's personal info. It's chilling absolutely," said Hagler.
Postal Inspector Shen says once you're a victim of identity theft, there's the potential that you'll be a victim multiple times.
Your information is out there and it will get passed around--so you have to be extra alert.
We want to know about problems that might put you, your family or neighbors at risk. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might be our next story.
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