Springfield FBI Educating the Public During Identity Theft Awareness Week

By Benjamin Cox on January 30, 2024 at 1:45pm

The Springfield FBI Bureau is taking the opportunity to educate the public about identity theft this week with extended outreach. January 29th through February 2nd this year has been designated as Identity Theft Awareness Week.

Individuals can become victims of identity theft if they are careless with their personal information, though other times victimization is beyond their control.

FBI Computer Scientist Justin Harris says that bad actors want your information to filter their money through accounts set up with other people’s information to continue a life of crime: “The most common identity theft cases that we see are wire fraud or the bank fraud. This is where a bad actor gets a victim’s personal information: identifiers, things like name, date of birth, etc. and they’ll open up a fraudulent bank account with the purpose of depositing illicit funds into those accounts. They want to create something in someone else’s name. That gives them the degree of separation from committing the crime and kind of makes it a little bit more challenging for us to track them down.”

Harris says that identity theft can happen with something as innocuous as a phone call or opening an email to downloading a text message or malicious phone app. Other times, identity theft can happen through a large-scale data breach at a large organization or company. Bad actors can then sell that personal information from the breach online. Harris says to remain resolute in protecting your identity and take advantage of any credit reporting offers, credit freezes, and fraud alerts offered. Be diligent in monitoring your banking accounts, and report suspected fraudulent activity immediately.

Harris says the more information about a potential fraudulent transaction with your personal information that you keep and provide to law enforcement , the easier it will be for them to try and track down those responsible. To file a complaint for identity theft or other types of fraud, visit ic3.gov.