Statistics offer look at identity theft

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Courtesy of the Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau

The 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy and Research, revealed that the number of identity victims increased from 13.1 million victims in 2015 to 15.4 million in 2016. This is a record high since Javelin Strategy and Research began tracking identity fraud in 2003. The study also shows that despite the efforts of the industry, scammers successfully stole $16 billion from consumers, up from $15 billion in just one year.

Identity theft can happen to anyone and can come in numerous forms. Even with advances in technology in recent years and more individuals taking measures to protect their identities, it remains a widespread issue. “There are several ways fraudsters can steal a person’s identity, including data breach, stolen credit card information and stolen bank account information,” says Kimberly Thompson, director of external communications. “The Identity Theft Resource Center has devised a helpful guide to protecting ourselves using the word SHRED.”

S trengthen passwords. Use at least eight characters, alpha numerics, symbols and upper and lower case letters.

H andle personal identifying information with care. Don’t give this information out unless absolutely necessary.

Read credit reports annually. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com every year for a free credit report.

Empty your purse or wallet. Don’t carry any more than necessary and never have your Social Security card with you.

Discuss these tips with your friends. Share your knowledge and educate those around you.

Free shred and e-cycle event

Your BBB offers a free community event where consumers and businesses can bring their documents with personal information to be commercially shred onsite. This event also includes e-cycling to dispose of electronics, such as computers and cellphones.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 29.

WHERE: Marshall University parking lot, corner of 3rd Avenue and 16th Street, Huntington.

MORE INFO: bit.ly/2017shredevent or 330-454-9401.

Visit bbb.org/canton to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam with Scam Tracker, read tips, follow on social media and more. The Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.