GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Identity theft cases are on the rise.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they received more than a million reports of identity theft in 2022.
Experts from ECU say the main sources for identity theft come from online communications and purchases so we should be more vigilant than ever with our technology usages.
Increased use of technology can lead to more cyber crimes, and identity theft is a leading case, according to the U.S. News and World Report survey.
The survey asked 2,000 adults in the U.S. and nearly three-fourths of them said they experienced identity theft at least once.
Victims say scammers or hackers are using personal information to make their requests sound more legitimate.
Evelyn Herrell, an identity theft victim says, “One person I thought was just calling me and they were talking about like Medicaid advantage, or whatever. anyway, i didn’t realize at the time he was setting me up to already take this particular program and it would be mine.”
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, and sometimes it could be the smallest details you have to look for in these cases.
Rich Zeck, the Executive Director of Pitt County Council of Aging shared, “Emails will go to my staff with my name on it saying and it’ll hey, I need three gift cards as soon as possible. Can you run them over to my office or go up to Walmart and get them and bring them back, and what will happen is sometimes staff will call me and say “Did you do this?,” and I go, what is the email address?”
Experts at ECU say emails and texting are our biggest threats in identity theft cases, but there are helpful ways to protect yourself from increasing cases.
Dr. Harry Ploehn, ECU School of Engineering and Technology dean told WITN, “Number one thing that people need to do, not click on links on emails that come in, don’t respond to texts or emails that ask you for account information, and all of your online accounts, maintain very strong passwords.
If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, you should report it to the FTC, by going to identitytheft.gov. They can also help you with what to do next.
The survey from U.S. News and World Reports also shows that most people find out their identity’s been stolen from credit card charges, compromised bank accounts, and stolen social security numbers, so make sure you are checking those regularly.