Credit Card I.D. Theft More Common In The Upstate -

Credit Card I.D. Theft More Common In The Upstate

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More identity thieves across the Upstate are using credit cards to access personal information, officials said during a training seminar at Spartanburg Community College Tuesday.

South Carolina ranks 17th nationwide in identity theft and eleven percent of those crimes now involve a credit card, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Trade Commission.

Consumers are often vulnerable, experts said, because they don't realize the people out to get them aren't always strangers.

"It may surprise people that the person who is most likely to victimize them is someone that they know, whether it's a friend, co-worker or a relative," said Carol Fredericks, an I.D. theft consultant with LifeLock.

Fredericks said in about half of all I.D. theft cases the suspect is someone the victim knows. But the problem often doesn't stop with one thief. There is a growing black market for personal information, and that only amplifies the problems for consumers.

"They're swiping numbers, instantly being uploaded to their computer, and then selling them [card numbers] and using them instantly," said LifeLock spokesperson Paige Hanson.

When personal information is sold, it increases the likelihood that fraudulent charges will pop up across the country, or even the globe. Sgt. Tony Brown, a fraud detective with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, said he investigates out-of-state fraud cases all the time.

"They'll steal their credit card number and they'll use it out-of-state," said Spartanburg County fraud detective Sgt. Tony Brown. "Or, they'll steal their identity and they'll use it out-of-state."

Brown said if you suspect your personal information has been compromised
  • File a police report
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission
  • Alert all your banks and credit card companies
  • Contact all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion

Brown said it's also important to make sure that anyone swiping your credit card does so in front of you. Those who don't could be using skimming devices to steal your information or make duplicate cards.

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