ID Theft on the Rise in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

ID Theft on the Rise in Delaware

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DOVER, Del. - Identity theft is a huge problem in the U.S. Nationally ID thefts are up 33 percent since 2005.

On Delmarva, police say they're working hard to help prevent it from happening to you.

Dover Police say credit card theft is the biggest concern.

"On average we get one complaint a day of identity theft. Some days we could have none, some days we could have five," said Detective Ernie Roswell of the Dover Police Department.

A woman we'll call Dorothy tells WBOC she was a victim of ID theft.

She says her identity was stolen nearly 30 years ago from someone she considered a friend.

"I graduated from John's Hopkins with her. She went in their computer system and got my information," said Dorothy.

Dorothy did not want to provide her real name. She told her story to WBOC at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.      

"She had an apartment in my name. She had insurance in my name. She bought three cars in my name. I had these strange repossession men coming to my house late at night and I'm wondering what's going on. They wanted to repossess those cars," said Dorothy.

Roswell says seniors are the biggest target.   

"A lot of times it could be a cold call where the person on the other end of the line claims to be either their credit card company or some other legitimate business, when in all actuality they're just trying to get personal information from them," said Roswell.

Roswell says he offers educational sessions to seniors to help them stay safe.

"One tip that I can give people is if you're in a situation where you have to hand your bank card or your credit card to someone and they walk away, I would advise using a credit card. If a device is attached to the card and it's skimmed and a duplicate card is made, you're dealing in credit as opposed to money coming directly out of your bank account," said Roswell.

Representatives from LifeLock, an ID theft protection company based in Arizona, say thieves also look in garbage cans.

Paige Hanson, Manager of Educational Programs for LifeLock, says a trash can be a treasure chest for ID thieves.

She says shred everything, including envelopes.
"If I'm a dumpster diver and I'm an identity thief going through your trash, I still have the envelope which that bank statement came into. I know where you bank. It's one less piece of the puzzle that me as an identity thief needs to pick up in order to steal your information or potentially cash out your entire bank account," said Hansen.

Unfortunately til this day, Dorothy says she still has to prove her identity.

"If I apply for credit and fraud alert is on my account, they ask for verification, so I have documentation from the automobile companies, I have documentation from the city police, I have the accounts that she opened. What can you do about it? check your credit report every year," said Dorothy.

Dorothy says she's doing everything she can to keep her identity safe.


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