According to NBC News, more than 1 million children in the U.S. were victims of identity theft last year, including those living here in Las Vegas and Henderson. Two-thirds of the child victims are under the age of eight. This recent spike in child identity theft has led to $2.67 billion in losses to consumers.
These figures don’t convey the whole story because many parents never check whether their children have credit profiles (most children under 18 should not have a credit report unless they have credit cards or accounts with their parents). Fraudsters and identity thieves seek out children’s Social Security numbers and private information because they are often unused and easier to take advantage of to open new accounts.
To prevent child identity theft, parents should visit www.annualcreditreport.com to see whether their children have credit reports. If so, parents should review the credit reports for any fraudulent or inaccurate information. If the reports contain fraudulent information, the parents should obtain a police report and write the major credit bureaus enclosing the police report and information about the fraud.
You have the right to sue the credit card companies and credit bureaus for false reporting if they fail to remove the fraudulent information within 30 days of your written notice. You can also hire an identity theft lawyer for no out-of-pocket cost because these companies are required to pay your fees and costs if you have a case.
Debt collection fraud is the most common scam affecting Las Vegas consumers. The scammers contact the unsuspecting person acting as legitimate debt collectors and threaten lawsuits and/or negative credit reporting. Other common debt collection scams include someone posing as an IRS or government agent demanding money or personal information to be used to steal the consumer’s identity.
If you receive collection calls, you should demand that the debt collector identify themselves and provide contact information for the collection company for which they are employed. Additionally, you should tell the collector you will not discuss the account without written validation in the mail listing the original creditor and the amount of the debt.
If you are a victim of illegal debt collection scams or harassing collections, you should contact a Las Vegas debt collection lawyer to protect your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There is no out-of-pocket expense for the consumer because the collectors who violate the statute are required to pay your attorney’s fees and costs along with possible statutory damages if you prevail.
Las Vegas residents are being targeted by identity thieves and scammers acting as Clark County officials. The scammers advise consumers that they have an arrest warrant for failure to appear for a jury summons. The crooks then seek to have the victim pay for the “fine” by providing their credit card information or loading a pre-paid credit card.
It is important for Las Vegas residents to know the Clark County court system will never call a resident to solicit money or personal information. Beware of emails or calls that appear to be jury summonses and ask for personal banking information or Social Security numbers.
If you are a victim of identity theft or illegal scams like this one, you should report the crime to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nevada Attorney General’s office. You should also review your credit reports with a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer to ensure there are no fraudulent loans or other false information on your credit profiles.
A Las Vegas woman fell victim to a relatively new scam used by sophisticated identity thieves. The scam, known as “SIM swapping,” occurs where thieves obtain your personal information then call your cell phone provider claiming to be you. The crook then requests a new SIM card from your provider and uses it to access your personal cell phone information.