Monday, September 24, 2018

How Common is Identity Theft by Someone You Know?

When we think about identity theft, most of us picture someone we don’t know stealing our information from our mailbox or an online source or a faceless person hacking an entire system and gaining access to personal information.

What if this faceless, unknown person was someone you knew or even someone who lives in your house?

“Familiar fraud" occurs when a friend, extended family member or even a spouse, child or parent uses a close relationship for his or her own financial gain.”

“According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, over 500,000 children and 2 million seniors have already been affected by familiar theft, and these numbers are likely low because of under-reporting.”

These people not only know personal information about you, they may also know your passwords or where sensitive documents are kept.

“First, it’s unpleasant to think that you have to be on guard against people you know, but familiar fraud hinges on opportunity. For example, a nosy visitor to your home could collect your personal information in a matter of minutes by taking cell phone photos of personal documents from a desk, purse, or wallet. The sad truth is that you need to protect personal information at all times, even in your own home.

The other challenge is deciding whether or not to report the crime. In many cases, the “familiar” commits identity theft as a result of addiction or other personal issues. Victims may be conflicted about turning in a friend or family member and adding to that person’s problems. They may also fear that other friends or family will judge them for reporting the crimes.”

Here are 3 helpful tips to remember when dealing with familiar fraud:

  • “Be realistic. Realize that sometimes, there is no easy solution. Very often, especially in cases of addiction, it is difficult to mediate or agree on a resolution whereby the perpetrator relinquishes their behavior.
  • Be tough. In these situations, it is potentially better to take a “tough love” approach, reporting the crime to the relevant authorities and also importantly, making those authorities aware that there is an underlying reason. It may be that there is additional help available for your loved one that you can’t provide such as rehabilitation.
  • De-escalate the situation. Emotions will run high… There might be moments when you are dealing with this situation that you’re overwhelmed by hate and anger.”
Familiar fraud is a very difficult crime to deal with but one that must be addressed as soon as you know there is a problem. Review your credit report monthly and report even the smallest discrepancy on your credit card or bank statements.

For more information on identity theft visit www.wasteawaygroup.com.

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1 comment:

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