Identity Theft: What you can do to stop it - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Identity Theft: What you can do to stop it

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Identity theft is a crime that is on the rise. Thieves work hard to steal your personal and financial information. Area law enforcement agencies are brushing up on skills to help stop it.

The latest numbers show in 2010 more than 8-million Americans were victims of identity theft.

The company Lifelock, along with the FBI and TBI, teamed up with local law enforcement to talk about trends in identity theft and what the everyday person can do to stop it.

When it comes to identity theft, the State of Tennessee ranks 19th nationally for the most complaints filed.

"We're trying to raise awareness about all the forms of identity theft, how prolific it is, and really the damage and the loss that comes with the crime," says Levi Gundert.

Gundert is with Lifelock. He and other instructors talked with 12 agencies from Tennessee on tactics of fighting identity thieves, some we can't show so thieves do not get any ideas.

"How do we solve these cases? What are the next steps? That gives an excellent opportunity to network," says Paige Hanson with Lifelock.

She says before law enforcement get involved, there are plenty of steps you can take to stop identity theft before it happens.

Lifelock shows how easy it is, with a little nail polish remover, to take the ink right off a piece of paper.

"All I need to do is, just do this and you'll see instantly that this is lifting. Look at the ink," says Hanson in a demonstration.

They recommend using gel pens to right checks.

Other basic tips include checking your credit score.

"If I look at my credit report and I see that I have multiple credit cards that I didn't issue, then that's when I can go to the credit bureaus, remove them from my credit report because your credit matters," says Hanson.

On top of watching your credit score, they recommend strengthening online passwords and guarding your mail.

Experts say by doing the little things, like keeping your mailbox flag down, one can avoid becoming a victim.

"It's classes like this that will hopefully stop or at least hold it down it for a little bit while more consumers are educated on the problem itself," says Hanson.

Other targets include your child's Social Security number. Many times parents do not realize their child's identity has been stolen until they turn 18.

For more tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft, click here.

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