By Rob Tucker
There were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017 totaling losses of $16.8 billion dollars (that's billion with a capital B) — a record high that followed a previous record the year before. Think that sort of thing doesn't happen in a state as nice as Iowa? Not long ago a ring was broken up in the northeast part of the state, Thirty-three were prosecuted, but not before they bilked more than $700,000 from approximately 300 victims. A man from Sheldon was taken for $10,500.
Think attorneys are exempt because of our profession? I was a victim of identity fraud. Someone swiped the routing and account numbers from my law firm's checking account and produced fake checks that the perpetrators cashed at local grocery stores, and then nationwide. Theft rings are everywhere. Once a credit card number, or in my case fake checks are produced, that information will be sold across the country to other criminal syndicates. The total amount was $6,000, but luckily my bank, Wells Fargo, was on top of it and spotted the fraud activity immediately, and I wasn't out any money. But believe, these thieves tried, and unfortunately they often succeed. So be careful.
In order to help others benefit from my experience, I served on a panel at the first Iowa ID Theft Victim Assistance Coalition conference July 25. I've attached a link to their website for helpful advice and other resources for dealing with ID theft and fraud.
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