Identity Theft Safety

Close-up of silver digits on a credit card. Very shallow depth of field, focus on number 2. You can see the texture of the card in the in-focus areas.
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Tallahassee, FL-November 29, 2012

Every swipe of your credit and each click of the mouse potentially puts you one step closer to becoming a victim of identity theft.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, a company that tracks consumer spending and habits, about 12 million people were victims of identity theft in the U.S. last year. That's up 13 percent from 2010

"Fraud and identity theft in Leon County is just as common as it is anywhere else in the United States," says Detective Dave Teems.

Detective Teems works in the financial crimes unit of the Leon County Sheriff's Office. He says short of paying for everything in cash, it's nearly impossible to prevent identity theft 100 percent of the time. But there are still things you can do to stay safe.

"The best thing to do is to stay vigilant. Check your credit report once a year, you're allowed to get a free one. Check your bank account to make sure there is no unauthorized charges on it," says Teems.

Teems also recommends clearing out your browser after you make a purchase online. And he says to question anyone who swipes your card multiple times when you buy something.

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