An Ohio woman filed a criminal complaint against her own father last month.William H. Olson, 70, was charged with three counts of identity theft and three counts of fraud after racking up $38,000 of debt in his daughter`s name. He now faces up to $90,000 in fines and 44 years in prison, pending conviction, says the Caledonia Patch.
According to the Patriot-Ledger, investigators found 11 driver`s licenses, two resident-alien cards, and six U.S. passports in the home of 62-year-old Massachusetts landlord Wanpen Florentine. She is now up against six felonies related to fraud and forgery and is being heldon $125,000 bail.
Yes, fraud and identity theft are alive and well and more prevalent than ever, in part because of smart phones and social media. A report by Javelin Strategy & Research says that almost 12 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2011, which represents a 13 percent increase over 2010 statistics.
Although credit card companies have tightened security and added technologies to keep cardholders safe, such as the EMV chip, people are more lax than ever about sharing their personal information via Twitter and Facebook, which they access through their smart phones. If they leave their phones unlocked, they are vulnerable to theft and fraud.
Michael Germanovsky, editor-in-chief of Credit-Land.com, says “the burden is on the consumer to prevent this crime. People should not rely solely on credit card security technology to protect them from credit card fraud.They need to know their surroundings and always remember to keep their personal information secure.”
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov) wrapped up this weekend, but consumers need to be aware of fraud year-round. During NCPW, groups nationwide shared tips and information that help consumers protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, and avoid frauds and scams, and the information shared will remain widely available.
Whether it`s a late-night call at a hotel, an email purporting to be from your bank, a phony job lead, or a contractor offering to do work on your home – after you pay an initial deposit for materials, of course – fraud scams have one thing in common. They seek to take advantage of people`s vulnerabilities and catch them off guard, pretending to offer help. People can avoid being scammed by being wary of offers that sound too good to be true and being careful not to give their sensitive personal information out over the phone, or to someone they don`t know.
All schemes and scams have one goal in common – accessing your information. Whether it`s your credit card number, your social security number, your bank account information, or your age, height, and weight, refrain from giving personal information out unless you know exactly who you are giving it to, and why. Never give out information over the phone, never click on links embedded in emails that ask for information, and trust your instincts. If something doesn`t feel right, hang up the phone, walk away, or close your browser.
Consumers can go to Credit-Land.com`s credit card security and protection section to read educational materials and FAQs regarding credit card fraud and identity theft, as well as to find a credit card that suits their needs and can help provide them with peace of mind by using cutting-edge security technologyto protect them from becoming a victim of credit card fraud.