SC tops the list for identity fraud - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC tops the list for identity fraud

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

From the Federal Trade Commission to ID Analytics, South Carolina tops the list for identity fraud. With the personal information of nearly 4 million at risk, has the state done enough to protect you?

"It's a little bit like wearing your shirt and going out without your pants," said Joye McElrath Hanna, group owner at Benefits Advantage.

Hanna wants people to know they could be vulnerable in other areas, from your bank account, to your own medical records, to government documents, the most targeted.

"We're talking about driver's licenses, birth certificates, passports, that's the big one right there, government benefits. You work 45 years at a job you go to apply for Social Security and find out you've already been receiving it for five years," said Hanna.

Retirees are a big target since they're not as savvy online, and South Carolina has a lot of retirees. Also that family name shared through generations and done more in southern states could put you at greatest risk, because if hacked, thieves know it's harder to sort out.

"If you've got a whole line of people in your family named the same name, then you have to be very diligent about checking things on your own," said Hanna.

ID Analytics looked at where fraud rings are most prevalent, South Carolina is near the top of the list.  The orange and red shows areas of activity, the red being the highest.  If you fall victim it can take time to clear up. 

The Federal Trade Commission again says it takes anywhere from 50 to 700 hours to get it cleared.

So, how can you protect yourself? Hanna says you have to be vigilant, regularly checking your bank records online or when paper statements are sent and reporting problems right away.  It's not enough to just sign up for the monitoring. She also cautions there's no way to track your Social Security number, and people don't realize it's compromised until it's too late.

Click here for more information on protecting your identity.

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