RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina has become a hotbed of identity theft since the start of the new year, affecting thousands. 

As of 2022, we now rank No. 15 among the top 20 of states for ID theft. 

Experts say North Carolina’s appeal to those moving here from out-of-state is behind the surge in ID theft, with people in their 30’s the biggest target of ID thieves.

Identity theft is related to mobility, and with nearly a million people moving to this area in the last decade–it’s a rich environment for ID thieves.

“The younger generation between the ages of 28 and 50 are the most susceptible to ID Theft and North Carolina is bringing in a lot of younger people.” said Nick VinZant a senior research analyst with Wizard by Lending Tree. 

“Those in their 30’s make up the largest percentage of that 28 to 50 demographic group, with 30 percent of them becoming victims,” he said.

When your identity is stolen, you need to prove who you are. 

It’s sometimes very difficult to establish which of your identities is real–and which is fake when you are dealing with those who been victimized by someone using your identity. 

Pandemic aid programs run by the government helped ID thieves gain access to lots of new victims and now those criminals are using that information in new ways.   

“We’re starting to see bank fraud, loan/lease fraud and credit card fraud,” said VinZant.

How bad is it? In last two years: 

  • Bank fraud increased 290%   
  • Loan/lease fraud is up 170%  
  • Credit card fraud surged 160%  

VinZant said if you’ve already been victimized, there are limited remedies are available to you. 

“Talk to your bank and creditors,” he said. “Establish a paper trail that it was not you.” 

In addition– take these steps if your identity has been stolen: 

You might also want to look into identity theft insurance

Some homeowners and renter’s policies include that as part of the coverage. If not, you can buy it as a separate rider.