TULSA - Once you're a victim of identity theft, there's the potential that you'll be a victim multiple times. Your information is out there, and it will get passed around.
Being the victim of identity theft is a stressful experience. But people who have already been there will tell you there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
“The thieves knew my personal information, contacted my credit card company and pretended to be me,” said Christopher Hagler, a victim of identity theft.
The thieves got credit cards in Hagler's name, along with 19 other victims, and went shopping.
U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Shen said they tried to spend a quarter of a million dollars on watches, jewelry and purses.
“They went to a jewelry store. They selected a nice-looking gold Rolex for the price tag of $29,000," said Hagler. "I was furious. I was also in a bit of disbelief about how could such a thing happen, especially when I am very cautious about security.”
To avoid having your credit card information end up in the hands of thieves, Hagler has some advice.
"Make sure you’re not using your mother’s maiden name, or any family, genealogical information in your
passwords, because a lot of that information is on the web and thieves know how to find it,” he said.
Shen has another piece of advice.
“Don’t have too many credit cards. Check your statements,” said Shen.
“It’s very unnerving to know that someone out there is pretending to be you," said Hagler. "It’s chilling, actually.”
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The Scripps News investigative team uncovered 170,000 records containing personal information like social security numbers, birth dates, social security cards, drivers licenses and food stamp cards.
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