Identity theft target turns the tables

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I admit it; when my email inbox is full, my eyes may drift past some messages. But my co-worker’s story has motivated me to pay better attention. She noticed an odd email her husband got and looked into it. It turned out that someone had stolen his personal information and used it to buy things. Now her husband is using IdentityTheft.gov to fix problems, and she’s reminding people to watch their inboxes.

The story started with an email from a company the family knew. It said ‘We received your order.’ That seemed ok; they had recently placed an order. A second email said ‘Your new mobile phone is on its way’ and listed a delivery address that wasn’t theirs. ‘That’s wrong!’ my co-worker thought, and she called the company.

The company confirmed that someone using her husband’s account had ordered a mobile phone, and was having it sent to a nearby hotel. She told the company it was a scam, closed the account and filed an identity theft report. She also contacted local law enforcement. When the scammer — complete with fake ID — came to pick up the package, local law enforcement arrested him.

There are many ways to discover that someone is using your information. You might get bills that aren’t yours, see strange withdrawals from your bank account or get an unexpected notice from the IRS. If you see a warning sign, act quickly. IdentityTheft.gov will guide you through the steps that help you limit the damage.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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