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Identity thieves are a non-discriminatory bunch. Anything and everything is considered fair game if they can attach the liability to you while they benefit as long as possible without getting caught. So in addition to having money stolen from bank accounts, or having purchases and cash advances made to your card(s) after becoming a victim of credit identity theft, you're also a likely target for phone fraud.
If you suddenly notice a spike in phone charges on your monthly bill to phone numbers you don't know, immediately cancel the account. Open a new account with a new PIN. It's also a good idea to add a password to the account that must be used whenever an attempt is made to change account information.
More serious cases of identity theft via phone fraud occur when the thief establishes a new phone account in your name with bills going unpaid that you never see. You won't realize that anything is amiss until the damage appears on your credit report.
If you have trouble getting fraudulent charges removed from your local phone account or can't close an unauthorized account, contact your state Public Utility Commission. For fraudulent cellular phone charges and long distance, contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) online or call 888-CALL-FCC. You can also write to them at: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, 445 12th Street SW, Room 5A863, Washington, DC 20554.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|