23 Jul Is Someone Using YOUR Identity to Commit Utility Fraud?
When you hear warnings about identity theft, most of us think about stolen credit cards and fake ID’s used to make unauthorized, expensive purchases in another person’s name. However, there’s another form of identity theft not often thought about: utility fraud. Believe it or not, it happens a lot during the summer months.
Utility fraud is when a person fraudulently uses someone else’s name or identity to order water, gas, cable or other types of services. Cable fraud is the most commonly committed utility scam. This type of identify theft is actually quite easy to pull off, because often times a utility company only requires a name, address and maybe a social security number – but often times they don’t confirm the identity of the person providing the name and personal information.
When a person’s wallet is stolen, they can call the police and file a report, and alert their credit card companies — both actions remove the person from liability of purchases. However, with utility fraud a victim wouldn’t even know their identity is being used and therefore no police report can be filed until long after-the-fact – when an unpaid bill appears on your credit report. By then, the process to get it removed by the credit bureaus can be arduous and expensive.
Consumers should be diligent in monitoring their report, because otherwise these crimes are very difficult to detect. Police say that by the time an unpaid bill hits a person’s credit report, the thief may no longer be living at the address provided – and it could be even more difficult to track down their real name.