With tax season ramping up, BBB warns public to beware of identity theft
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This week marks National Identity Theft Awareness week — a reminder to keep close tabs on your personal information as tax season ramps up.
The Federal Trade Commission said fraud was up 18 times last year compared to 2017. And just two years ago, the FTC received 1.4 million reports of identity theft.
The Better Business Bureau said all thieves need is a bit of your personal information to do serious damage and open accounts in your name under a completely different address.
“They can redirect your mail, so now all of a sudden you are not getting it and it’s going to them,” said Better Business Bureau Communications Manager Roseann Freitas.
“Then they start to open up other accounts in your name again to this fake mailing address. That’s what makes it so hard is you don’t realize it while it’s happening. For many people, it’s not until a debt collector calls that they realize something is amiss.”
Officials advise the best way to prevent identity theft is to regularly monitor credit activity, keep changing online account passwords and if you receive physical paper billing statements, invest in a shredder.
If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft, reach out to the BBB or the FTC-managed website, identitytheft.gov.
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