Widespread use of Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cards – payment cards equipped with computer chips – have reduced U.S. counterfeit card activity. However, identity thieves are just turning back to older tactics in order to profit from the stealing of sensitive consumer data. A method known as synthetic identity fraud has been around for years, but it has evolved to keep up with changing technology. Because this form of identity theft is on the rise once again, Ohio consumers should know what it is and how to best defend themselves against it.
What Ohioans Need to know about Identity Theft and Synthetic Identity Fraud
First, Ohio consumers should guard and protect their Social Security cards and numbers, as well as those belonging to their children. Identity thieves engaged in synthetic identity fraud create credit card accounts with other peoples’ credentials. In order to do this successfully, these fraudsters need Social Security numbers (SSNs).
Sometimes identity thieves will just fabricate SSNs, but most of them prefer to steal authentic information from actual consumers. Ideally, they want SSNs that belong to people who have little to no credit history. This makes immigrants, the elderly, and children prime targets for crooks. Identity thieves will take these little-used SSNs and build fake identities that appear as good credit risks to credit card companies. Using the latest technology, experienced fraudsters can create false identities that are virtually indistinguishable from real ones. Some thieves will even fabricate social media accounts in order to make their schemes seem more authentic.
How much of a threat is synthetic identity fraud to Ohio consumers? Last year, reported financial losses stemming from this type of identity theft rose by 42%. Knowing this, Ohio residents should be sure to always keep their Social Security cards locked up in a safe place. Special precautions must also be made for elderly relatives and children. Their information is especially vulnerable, so parents and grown children should help them keep their data safe from identity thieves.
You should also never give your SSN to anyone, online or over the phone, unless it’s absolutely necessary. The senior citizens in your life should also be reminded about the importance of guarding their sensitive information. All Ohio moms, dads, and grandparents should know that they can’t trust everyone who calls them or sends them an email.
Another Way that Ohio Residents can Protect Themselves against Identity Thieves
If you shop online or use a debit or credit card to pay for in-store purchases, it’s almost impossible to keep your data 100% safe all of the time. This is why it’s important to check your banking and credit card statements daily if possible. Since most Ohio consumers have online access to these things, monitoring accounts for suspicious activity should require minimal effort.
It’s also important to keep tabs on your credit reports. Those consumers who’ve never checked their credit reports may think that it’s difficult, but it really isn’t. Checking your credit usually doesn’t cost anything either. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to one free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus. For the easiest way to check all three credit reports, just go to www.annualcreditreport.com and fill out one convenient form.
If you find unrecognizable accounts on your credit reports, or inaccuracies, having these items removed may increase your credit score. For Ohioans, getting rid of credit report errors can be simplified with a FREE credit repair lawyer.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let identity theft or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888)293-2882 or sending him a message through our contact page.