Tag Archives: Fraud

Here’s What Happens When Your Mom Or Dad Steals Your Identity

“We don’t have good statistics on the scope of child identity theft,” Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, told BuzzFeed News. “But it’s common enough that we hear from people on a regular basis, either parents who are calling us because they somehow found out their children’s information has been used, or kids themselves call us when they are getting a student loan or car loan and find out they have credit history that’s precluding them from moving forward with their lives.”

Minors are attractive targets for identity theft. Because of their young age, they have clean credit reports and often don’t discover the theft until they reach adulthood and apply for credit, John Krebs, identity theft program manager with the Federal Trade Commission, told BuzzFeed News. And their social security number and other personal information is easily available to family members — so easily available that there are cases of parents secretly using their adult children’s information to open lines of credit.

Hailee, a 23-year-old community college student in Pennsylvania, told BuzzFeed News she is working off $500 in debt on a credit card she didn’t know existed until recently. Her mother opened the account in her name in 2015 and used it to replace a broken air conditioner. Hailee said she didn’t discover the account until Wells Fargo began pestering her about late payments.

“I wasn’t making that much money,” said Hailee, who asked to be identified by her first name only. “If [my mom] had just asked me in the first place, I would’ve seen if there was anything I could do to help out. Instead, I find out one day that I’m $500 in debt.”

Hilary O’Byrne, a Wells Fargo spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News it could not comment on Hailee’s account, but it has “extensive security measures to protect customers from fraudulent activity.” But it doesn’t discuss security procedures in detail, “as doing so could jeopardize their effectiveness.”

Hailee said she feels betrayed by her mother’s actions, but she’s not going to file charges. “I would never send my mom to jail or put her in a situation where she has to go to court,” she said. “It’s hard in these times to remember your parents love you and it sucks you’re being taken advantage of.”

This form of identity theft is not always malicious, Chi Chi Wu, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, told BuzzFeed News. “A lot of times parents are desperate,” she said. “The heat has been shut off, the light has been shut off. You can’t get service with your own information, so they use a child’s identity to get service.”

Krebs at the FTC said this kind of fraud “may be different from running up a bunch of credit card bills, but is the impact the same? Yes.”

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ID theft, fraud prevention topic of free seminar

Attendees will learn how to be their own best defense against becoming a victim of scams, fraud and identity theft. Topics covered will include protecting yourself in a data breach, scams hitting the local area, health-care scams and fraud, how to recognize scams and fraud by mail, phone and email and what to do if you are ever a victim.

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Tax identity theft awareness week

LEE COUNTY, Fla.– It’s tax identity theft awareness week and Florida ranks as one of the top 3 states for identity theft, according to the FTC.

Miriam Dotson of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is breaking down how SWFL ranks when it comes to fraud.

She says the most popular call for the year was the IRS scam, there were almost 1,300 calls on that scam alone.

February is the busiest month for calls to the fraud line, when people start filing their tax returns. April came in a close second.

According to the FTC, Naples ranks 5th in our state for identity theft and Fort Myers-Cape Coral ranks 19th.

This week, the FTC and IRS are hosting free online webinars and chats on the topics so you can learn more by logging on to their websites.

LCSO encourages you to use those resources but also be sure to file early. This way, the scammer gets denied your return instead of you finding out your legitimate file is denied.

For more information on how to protect yourself or if you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, call LCSO.

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