Orland Police Say ID Theft Cases Involving Smartphone Purchases On Rise
While lots of people may be hoping to unwrap the latest smartphone this holiday season, Orland Park police say two people recently allegedly tried to buy five of the devices using fraudulent cellular phone accounts.
Police said Monday they have seen an increase in identity theft cases involving smartphone purchases by people using hijacked or fraudulently created AT&T wireless accounts.
In the last 18 months, police said, 30 of the department’s 34 identity theft-related arrests or investigations involved the attempted fraudulent purchase of a smartphone using such an account, and most times the suspects had unlawfully placed themselves on an existing account without the account holder’s permission or knowledge.
Recently, police said, officers responded to the Apple Store in Orland Square Mall for a suspected fraudulent purchase involving five iPhone 8 Plus phones.
Arrested were a 21-year-old male, Ernest Bryant, and a 21-year-old female, Ashjanae King, both of Detroit, who are alleged to have used fictitious AT&T wireless accounts to finance the $949 cost of each phone, police said in a news release. Each is charged with one count of identity theft and are alleged to have used the personal information of people from outside of Illinois to create the accounts, police said.
With consumer spending ramping up for the holiday shopping season, police offer these tips for protecting against identity theft.
–Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse or write your Social Security number on checks. Give out the number only when absolutely necessary.
–Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information, including Social Security number, date of birth and bank account numbers, by phone, mail or online.
–Review credit card and bank account statements and compare receipts with account statements to spot unauthorized transactions.
–Review your credit report once a year to be certain that it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
–Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired credit cards to prevent personal information from being retrieved from the trash.
–Enable security features on phones and other mobile devices, especially if you have contacts, banking websites and applications saved.
–Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases. ___