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Local Woman Falls Victim To Identity Theft

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(KCEN) -- It's the fastest growing crime in America, but you could be a victim without even knowing it. According to TransUnion, there are over nine million identity theft cases every year.

At first, Kristie Mason of West thought it was a mistake. "I didn't even know my identity had been stolen," Mason said. "I started getting bills in the mail for credit cards that I hadn't opened."
Five new credit cards in her name and old ones she had forgotten about that were now being charged. Then she got another surprise at her mailbox recently. A fake driver's license with all of her information, but someone else's photo, mailed to her by a man in New Mexico. "He just dropped it in the mail with a little note, his name and phone number and said, 'I hope this finds you well," Mason said.
It did. The ID is a piece of evidence she handed over to the McLennan County Sheriff's Office on Monday morning. Mason says she's always been careful, but Adam Price of the Better Business Bureau says you can't be careful enough these days.

"We want to assume the best in people, so we get so tied up in just giving people the information that they want," Price said.

He says to avoid becoming a victim yourself, don't give out your social security number and never carry your social security card with you. Always shred personal documents. Don't shop online unless you know the website is secure, by checking for "https" at the beginning of the URL. Lastly, Price says it's important to keep an eye out for red flags. "Every year you get a free report," Price said. "Check it every year to make sure that what is on there is yours." 

On average, it will cost you $500 and 30 hours to resolve an identity theft incident.
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