We’ve all heard from friends, family and perhaps even through our own experiences of identity theft horror stories. Well, I’m sharing this because this has got to be the most amount of fraudulently spent money I’ve ever seen from one thief and I thought it was worth sharing to remind everybody to just be careful. Apparently a New Jersey man went on a “spending spree” in NY and NJ and racked up $85,000 worth of purchases on one, yes ONE, stolen card. Holy shopping spree, that’s a lot of dough. The article caught my eye and I decided that it was a good time to just review the safety tips about how to prevent identity thieves in your life. But first, a word from the Associated Press regarding the impersonating, big-spending identity thief from New Jersey:
“State authorities say a northern New Jersey man went on a spending spree with a fraudulently obtained credit card.
Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced Monday that 37-year-old Lasean Harps of Jersey City faces charges of impersonation and identity theft; theft by deception and fraudulent use of a credit card. He also says Harps’ 31-year-old girlfriend, Courtney Wilson of Jersey City, faces charges because she allegedly gave false information to state police detectives.”
Click here to read the rest of the Associated Press’ article and find out what Harps’ punishment could be if convicted.
So, how can you help ward off identity thieves? Let’s start with the obvious: don’t keep a paper chain. Shred bank statements and don’t keep anything in paper that you can easily obtain online. Check your bank statement weekly (I actually check mine almost daily, thanks to a nifty app my bank offers. I do it on my phone, it takes me all of 2 minutes.) This way if anything funky does show up, you catch it almost immediately. Same thing with your credit report- check it at least once per year. And, make sure your passwords aren’t too easy to figure out to an imposter who was, say, looking to impersonate you and log into your eBay or Amazon account.