Police, prosecutors worried about brazen form of identity theft - KCTV5

Police, prosecutors worried about brazen form of identity theft

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FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

Police and prosecutors are increasingly worried about a brazen form of identity theft in which thieves go beyond financial fraud to assume the victim's persona completely.

So-called total identity theft involves crooks who use a person's name and Social Security number to get a job and other documents and services.

To protect against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the "three D's" - deter, detect and defend.

There is now a new push to protect people by checking their credit score because police in Wichita are seeing a new scheme.

Police say people who are in the country illegally are using stolen Social Security numbers to get a job and other services.

Candida Gutierrez's identity was stolen the thief used it to get a driver's license, mortgage and medical care for the birth of her two children.

Americans reported more than 279,000 instances of identity theft last year, up from 251,100 in 2010.

To deter it, people should make sure to shred financial documents and watch who they share their information with online.

To detect identity theft, one should monitor their accounts, bills and credit score.

And to defend against identity theft, if someone suspects a problem they should immediately place a fraud alert on their credit reports and close any accounts that may have been compromised.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide people with a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months.

To get a free copy of a credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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