Identity theft cases in Kansas skyrocket
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Tens of thousands of Kansans were victims of identity theft in 2020.
QuoteWizard.com, the insurance specialists, says identity theft is not on the rise in Kansas, in fact, it is skyrocketing. In its recent report, it said nationally, identity theft reports increased by 114% in 2020. It said the rise in reports began during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some states were hit harder than others.
In 2019, QuoteWizard said Kansas saw 2,272 reports of identity theft. In 2020, it said Kansas saw about 43,211 reports of identity theft. This is an over 1,800% increase.
According to QuoteWizard, this could have happened due to seven different areas of identity theft. It said credit card fraud increased in 2020 by about 44%, other identity theft increased by about 63%, loan or lease fund fraud increased about 96%, phone or utility fraud increased about 19%, bank fraud increased about 52% and employment or tax-related fraud increased about 149%. However, it said government document or benefits fraud, such as unemployment fraud or stimulus check fraud, increased by over 1,650%.
If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, QuoteWizard gave the following tips:
- Check your credit score through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows residents to get a free report each year from any of the three credit bureaus.
- Get a free ID theft and recovery plan and theft report from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Dispute all fraudulent information in your credit reports. If creditors are provided with an official identity theft report, debt collectors are usually prohibited from contacting you about the theft-related debts once a letter is sent to desist.
- Contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion for a free fraud alert. No application is necessary with any of the agencies. If one of them is notified, it will alert the other two. A fraud alert can be active for up to 7 years.
- Put a credit freeze in place. As of September of 2018, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit reports at no cost. Freezing credit reports prevents anyone, including you, from accessing the reports. This could help prevent thieves from opening false accounts in your name.
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