NC ranks among riskiest states for identity theft – how can you protect yourself?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina is one of the highest-risk states in the country when it comes to identity theft. However, the Better Business Bureau has recommendations for how people can protect themselves.

Experts said the latest report on identity theft is a clear sign that people need to stay on guard to avoid becoming a victim.

“Ten to 20 percent of people in this country will be affected by ID theft at one time or another,” said Tom Stephens with the BBB.

According to the personal finance experts at Wallethub, North Carolina is 13th in the nation for states most vulnerable to identity theft.

South Carolina ranked fifth. Tennessee ranked just behind North Carolina at 14th. Washington, D.C. and California ranked first and second.

The Identity Theft Resource Center said in 2018 the number of personal records is expected to double to about 446 million.

Not everyone became a victim of identity theft, but it’s expected more will in the future. Stephens outlined some common-sense ways people can protect themselves.

Among them were paying attention to email security. Strong passwords using upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols help. So will changing passwords frequently. Personal information should never be given to anyone unless it can be assured the person can be trusted.

“And that reason better include applying for a loan or going to a doctor’s office. That’s about the only places you should be giving out your social security number,” said Stephens.

The BBB also recommends checking credit reports for free at the government’s website.

Finally, electronic thieves aren’t the only people to look out for. Ground-based crooks still steal letters and bills from mailboxes. A post office box or simply checking mail frequently can help mitigate that risk.

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