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Get Gephardt: Utah man share ID Theft warning signs he says he missed

Jun 5, 2023, 10:26 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm

Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar crime every year in the United States - it's never been mo...

Andrew Davidson's fraud account claim from Best Buy after a credit card was opened in his name. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Identity theft was just not the sort of hassle Andrew Davidson and his family needed last year. Andrew’s wife, Ashley, is fighting cancer.

“Ashley’s doing chemo, and at that time, her health was extremely poor,” Andrew said. “We thought she was dying, basically.”

On top of fighting cancer, Andrew and his wife have also been fighting a barrage of bills from electronics stores, wireless providers, and payday loan stores. All of this is money he did not spend.

An identity thief did the spending for him. And now, Andrew says he must spend hours on the phone with dozens of creditors. The conversations usually go something like this:

“Okay, so there’s nothing else I need to do, right? We’re good? We’re done?” Andrew said. “He’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re done. Yeah, we won’t bother you anymore.'”

Andrew froze his credit which he says stopped the crooks from opening new accounts in his name. Yet, he said more than a year later, evidence of identity theft continues to trickle in.

He is, of course, far from alone.

Buying fake NBA All-Star merch online poses identity theft risk

We haven’t quite reached the halfway point of 2023, yet the Federal Trade Commission has logged 1.4 million identity theft complaints. The National Council on Identity Theft says the crime is on track to top $10 billion this year, saying “identity theft scenarios are increasing drastically in 2023.”

“We all have to be doubly on guard,” warned cybersecurity expert Chris Drake, chief technology officer at communications firm, iconectiv.

He says while there are helpful tools for folks who become victims of identity theft, like the AARP and the Federal Trade Commission, the best offense is a good defense.

“Please tell everyone to freeze their credit because if they get trapped in one of these scams,” Drake pleaded. “That’s going to save them from a great deal of pain and suffering that might follow.”

“I should have taken it a little more seriously,” Andrew conceded.

He said the first indication something was wrong was when he started getting preapproval offers in the mail like crazy from credit card companies. At the time, he did not think much of the influx of credit card offers. But his wife, Ashley, suspected something was very wrong.

“And I was just like, ‘It’s nothing. It’s just junk. It’s nothing,” Andrew said.

His advice?

“Listen to your wife.”

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Get Gephardt: Utah man share ID Theft warning signs he says he missed