Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

How can you avoid being the victim of identity theft?

Here's the story of how one woman discovered she had been targeted and what experts say you should do to avoid being a victim.

Jill Carlson, fraud victim explained, "I got home one day and I've got a package on my front porch from eBay which I did not order."

Jill thought it was just a mix-up. But the next day, when she found a notice telling her to pick up another package, she got suspicious and spoke to the post office clerk.

Turns out thieves stole her identity, opened an eBay account in her name and began ordering online with the intent of picking up the packages before she retrieved them.

Jill discovered the woman who stole her identity -- Stacy Wallin -- was part of a house painting crew she hired years earlier.

Wallin and her crew knew Carlson's schedule which was why they were able to grab packages from her home without anyone noticing.

Though Jill didn't lose any money, the damage done to her credit was devastating.

"I did have major problems with my credit report - because all of a sudden you are late with a payment they stole credit card statements out of my mailbox - they stole credit reports out of my mailbox. It took me probably a year to start rebuilding my credit,' said Jill.

As Jill tells us, the process is not easy. "It's amazing how hard it is for you to prove you are the actual person. It's easier for them to change your records then it is for you to go back and prove that you are who you are," she said.

Postal inspectors say ID theft is growing at an alarming rate and can happen to anyone.

Order an annual credit report and check to see if all of the accounts and addresses are yours and that no one else's name is on your account.

As for Stacy Walin, she was sentenced to more than three years in prison and was ordered to pay more than $35,000 in restitution.

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