Identity theft awareness tips

Now is identity theft awareness week and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding folks to stay alert and take measures to protect themselves from becoming victims of this crime. Identity theft occurs when someone uses someone’s personal information to commit fraudulent acts such as opening lines of credit in their name.

Identity theft is more common than people may realize. Nearly three out of four participants in a U.S. News and World Report study said they have had their identities stolen and 27 percent of those surveyed said this has happened to them more than once. In 2022 the federal trade commission received a staggering number of identity theft reports, more than 1.1 million.

“Identity theft can wreak havoc on our finances, our credit, and our sense of personal data security. Consumers can reduce their risk of falling victim to this widespread and damaging crime by heeding the warning signs,” Nessel said.

These include things like missing mail, mysterious bank withdrawals and credit denials.

Nessel offers tips to avoid identity theft:

  • Charge everything with a credit card for protection against liability for fraudulent charges.
  • Shred papers with a device that makes micro cuts and turn your documents into confetti.
  • Consider credit monitoring so you can know when someone checks your credit.
  • And finally, never pay with a person check because it exposes your account and routing numbers to anyone who handles the check.