RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Your identity is at risk. A new report shows identity theft reports here in North Carolina are up 168% since the beginning of the pandemic, the 15th highest increase nationwide.
If you're a victim of identity theft, you know how much destruction it can cause, impacting your credit score and history. Plus it takes up so much of your time getting your identity back.
When it comes to identity theft reports, QuoteWizard, an insurance comparison website, looked at the identity theft reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission and found just in North Carolina 9,387 identity thefts have been reported already this year.
When they crunched the numbers even more, since the pandemic started, the report shows a 139% increase in identity theft reports filed in Raleigh. Charlotte is seeing a 238% increase in reports filed.
Nick VinZant with QuoteWizard said, "There were a lot of government programs and stimulus efforts that came through and criminals used that and took advantage of it. They got people's identity, then they took those benefits and so really this ties back to the pandemic."
VinZant said the numbers showed a large increase in bank fraud reports and government document thefts.
"What we're really seeing is now criminals are posing as your bank or your or a government agency--either trying to collect a debt or offer you stimulus programs--taking people's identity and then using that for criminal activity," VinZant said.
To protect your identity the first step is to check your credit report often and see if any accounts have been opened in your name, or new debt you're not aware of. If so, report it right away. The next step, secure your passwords to bank and credit card accounts. And similarly, two-factor authentication with those passwords is a must.