To say that "identity theft" is concerning to most Americans would be an understatement, and it's on the rise.  In New England, there have been many cases of credit card fraud and identity theft.

For example, in November 2023, two credit card skimmers were found at two Market Basket locations in Concord, New Hampshire, according to WMUR.

In Hudson, New Hampshire, in summer of 2023, WMUR reported that a man lived as another man by using his identity for 28 years.

And according to this report from nbcboston, Boston police are still looking for a man in connection with credit card fraud.

According to the ascent, identity theft is one of the most common ways for criminals to rip you off.

Credit card fraud is very common, and synthetic fraud is the fastest-growing form of bad guys trying to steal from you.  I didn't know what synthetic fraud was, so I looked it up.

According to Forbes:

Synthetic fraud is a complex form of identity theft in which the thing being imitated is a person. A fraudster combines a stolen Social Security Number (SSN) and fake information, such as a false name, incorrect address, made-up date of birth or new phone number to create a false identity. It’s one of the most difficult forms of fraud to monitor and catch because fraudsters will sometimes take years to build good credit using a fake profile before making final fraudulent charges and abandoning the identity (called “busting out”).

With all the illegal activity going on, it's safe to say that all of us have been targeted.  It depends on how much you know about fraud and how willing you are to take the steps to protect yourself.  It may seem inconvenient, frustrating, and annoying. However, it could save you from a whole myriad of problems in the future.

One of the items experts tell you not to carry in your wallet is a blank check.  There is a wealth of information on your blank check that will lead the bad guys directly to your accounts.  There are plenty of other ways to pay like Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, etc.  It may not be what you grew up doing, but it's a different world today.

Not long ago, I came home to a brand new Victoria's Secret credit card that I never applied for.  I called the company and thank goodness, there were able to confirm that I was not the person who applied for the card. Have you ever had something like that happen?

This type of crime is everywhere. Check out the other items not to carry in your wallet.

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