PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - 3 On Your Side and CBS 5 Investigates joined forces to uncover a cyber security scheme in which thieves exploited a glitch in Arizona's driver's license website - ServiceArizona.com.
Crooks were ordering duplicate driver's licenses and having them delivered to new addresses. Often, these new addresses were Airbnb rentals.
How did the scheme work? Once these thieves had a real driver's license, they opened fraudulent bank accounts, obtained credit cards, purchased cars and drained home equity lines of credit.
While there is no way to fully protect yourself, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
• Alerts: Set up email, text or app push alerts for all banks, savings and credit card accounts. At least one of the victims was able to stop the identity theft because she noticed activity on her bank account. The sooner you know, the higher the chance of stopping them before they cause major damage to your finances.
• Two-factor authentication: This is one of the single most important steps you can take to not only protect yourself from identity theft but also from hackers. You should do this especially for all banking, savings and credit card accounts, as well as email, social media, and shopping sites. Be safe... if you have a log in and password, set up two-factor authentication.
• Passwords: Be vigilant with passwords. Change them frequently and be sure to mix in special characters and numbers. Take it a step further and use a tool like Last Pass to manage your passwords.
• Credit Monitoring: Sign up for credit monitoring. Many banks and credit card companies now offer this as a free service for customers. Ask them about what they offer. You should also be able to sign up to get alerts emailed or texted to you.
• Credit Reports: Set a calendar reminder to look at your credit report monthly for any changes.
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR IDENTITY HAS BEEN STOLEN
• Call Companies: Call all the companies you know have been affected by the identity theft.
• Fraud Alert: Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports. Also, place a freeze on your credit.
• FTC Report: File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
• Local Police: File a report with your local police department.
• New Accounts: Close new accounts that were opened in your name.
• Bogus Charges: Start the painstaking process of getting bogus charges removed from your accounts.
• Repair Credit: Work to correct your credit report if you’re a victim of fraud. However, refrain from hiring credit repair companies. You can do the same thing for free.
• Extend Alerts/Freezes: Consider extending fraud alerts and credit freezes.