Valley woman shares experience with identity theft
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. And it's easier than ever these days for thieves to get their hands on your information. Now in a Contact 13 consumer alert, Action News anchor Tricia Keans tells us about a Valley woman who wants to share her story, in hopes that others will learn from her mistake.
"I can't believe it. Unforgettable experience for me," says Adelina Morente.
She says it's scary how easily someone stole her personal information. It all happened back in April, when someone made a rather large purchase using her credit card.
"Computer supplies for the amount of almost $3,500," says Adelina.
When it happened, she got a fraud protection alert from American Express. It shows someone used her card to go shopping at an Apple store in California.
"And I confirmed to them, I didn't make the purchase at all," says Adelina.
She says American Express is now investigating the charges. But she's embarressed to admit, this could have been avoided. That's because, before this all happened, Adelina was too careless with her credit card information.
"Just throwing out my bills in the trash, not knowing somebody would go there and pull them out," says Adelina.
And she isn't alone. According to a 2012 Identity Fraud report from Javelin, there were more than 11 million cases of identity theft in the U.S. last year. That's a 13 percent increase from the year before.
"In fact, Nevada a few years ago was ranked 5th for number of I.D. thefts in the entire country. So it's clearly a problem here," says Katie Robison with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB says the easiest way to avoid identity theft is to shred your personal documents. And don't forget about the information stored on a computer or phone. Research shows 65 percent of smartphone users don't keep their phones password protected.
"If you lose or your phone gets stolen, this information becomes accessible. All that personal stored information you have on your smartphone is now in the hands of possibly an identity thief," says Katie.
Adelina says she's now doing everything she can to protect herself, from password protection on her phone, to shredding old documents.
"I've learned my lesson. I've learned my lesson," says Adelina.
If you're trying to get rid of some old personal information, this Saturday, October 20 you can take advantage of "Secure Your I.D. Day" from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Better Business Bureau 6040 S. Jones Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89118.
They'll shred your paperwork, plus take any e-waste like old phones, computers, even fax machines and copiers, all for free.