Identity theft can be prevented with quick action - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Identity theft can be prevented with quick action

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC)- Millions of people fall victim to identity theft each year.  It's a problem that hit close to home recently in the City of Austin as one man's identity was reported stolen. 

The Austin Police Department received a call on Monday from a 33 year old man who claims his identity has been stolen.

After receiving a letter from the IRS stating he owes over $2000 in back taxes to the State of Missouri the man filed a report with police.

"He advised us, our officers, that he's never worked in the State of Missouri," said Austin Chief of Police, Brian Krueger.

Across the country millions fall victim to identity fraud each year. Austin is not immune.

"Identity theft here, in our community, is probably more prevalent than credit card theft, but we do see both of them," said Chief Krueger.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines identity theft as any unauthorized use or attempted use of existing credit cards and other accounts, such as checking.  Any misuse of personal information to obtain a loan, new account or commit other crimes, is also considered a case of stolen identity.  Recognizing when you're a victim of identity fraud can stop a thief in their tracks.

"As soon as you realize you are a victim of a theft you need to make a report, a police report, so you've got documentation that the incident did occur.  Then, obviously notify the banks or credit card companies that the theft has occurred so they can cancel that card and reissue you a new one."

The police advise against carrying important documents such as social security cards or giving out other personal information to anyone you don't know. Taking the right precautions can help save you from a nightmare, such as this. 

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