With news of data breaches becoming more frequent, protecting one’s identity is a necessity. From stores where people shop regularly (see Business Insider’s discussion of sixteen stores who have been targeted), to even the credit reporting agency Equifax having the data of nearly 148 million people compromised, guarding against fraud has become a growing concern. The FTC reported that in 2017 there were 2.7 million reports related to fraud, identity theft, and other consumer concerns. The top three categories of reports were debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams.
Their report also noted that Missouri ranked 12th in the nation in terms of reports filed, and Kansas City had the most reports in the state.
- Debt collection fraud is the most reported fraud scam in Missouri. This kind of fraud involves a scammer posing as a real debt collection agency, calling someone to collect debts.
- NOLO has produced a guide outlining the nature of these scams and how to protect yourself against them.
- The second most reported scam in Missouri is the imposter scam. This kind of scam involves the scammer pretending to be someone that you trust to entice you to send them money.
- The FTC has produced a guide with videos outlining the nature of the most common types of imposter scams.
- Identity theft is the third most reported fraudulent activity in Missouri. This kind of fraud involves using someone’s personal or financial information to benefit the scammer in some way. There are several resources listed below that can assist you in understanding what identity theft is and what to do if it happens to you.
- Federal Trade Commission – A resource for information on reporting and recovering from identity theft
- U.S. Department of Justice – Provides information on what identity theft and identity fraud are, and outlines steps to follow if you are a victim of these crimes
- Missouri Attorney General’s Office – Provides an overview of types of identity theft and gives guidance on steps one can take to protect one from it
- Center for Identity Management and Protection – Housed at Utica College; offers news and resources for thinking about managing and protecting one’s identity
A recent development (September 21, 2018) related to the topic of identity theft is the implementation of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which now necessitates that credit agencies provide credit freezes and yearlong fraud alerts for free.
In addition to the above resources, the Library has books and e-resources relevant for thinking about the topic of fraud and identity theft.
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