5 ways Michiganders can help prevent identity theft

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By Karel Vega

February 1, 2024

Attorney General Dana Nessel says Michiganders should be on the lookout for missing mail and suspicious bank withdrawals.

MICHIGAN—Did you know almost one-third of Americans have been a victim of identity theft? In fact, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 1.1 million reports of identity theft in 2022 alone (with more than 20,000 cases reported in Michigan). That’s why, as part of Identity Theft Week, which runs from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding Michiganders about tips to avoid having their personal information stolen.

Firstly, it’s good to acquaint yourself with what constitutes identity theft. According to the attorney general’s office, identity theft happens when someone uses another person’s personal information, like social security numbers, credit card details, or other sensitive data, without permission to commit fraud or other unlawful activities.

“Identity theft can wreak havoc on our finances, our credit, and our sense of personal data security. Consumers can reduce their risk of falling victim to this widespread and damaging crime by heeding the warning signs,” Nessel said in a press release. “I encourage everyone to visit the Michigan Identity Theft Support webpage for resources and guidance.”

One of the easiest steps to take to avoid identity theft is to watch out for suspicious activity like missing mail, mysterious bank withdrawals, and credit denials.

Here are four more ways Nessel says you can help reduce identity theft:

  • Charge everything to a credit card. You are most protected against liability for fraudulent charges.
  • Shred papers with a device that makes micro-cuts. Turn your documents into confetti.
  • Consider credit monitoring. Know when someone checks your credit and more.
  • Never pay with a personal check. You expose your account, routing number, and your money to anyone who handles the check.

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should reach out to the Michigan Identity Theft Support unit for resources on how to minimize damage. It’s also a good idea to reach out to the Michigan attorney general’s office and fill out an online complaint form.

Author

  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

CATEGORIES: CRIME AND SAFETY

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