CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - "Your name, your social security, your driver's license number this is the new currency that is out there. It's being purchased, it's being sold and it's being used by criminals,” said Sgt. Robert Sprague of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
CMPD says fraud cases are on the rise and some criminals charged with violent crimes are now turning to financial crime.
"1 in 16 people right now will be a victim of identity theft,” according to Sgt. Sprague.
Due to recent breaches with companies like Equifax, he says some statistics show that number at one in three.
"It's a very tedious long painful process and what really bothers me is how easy it was for someone to come in and open this kind of an account,” he said.
Michael Maxfield's son got a letter saying a phone account with two lines was opened under his name, which was spelled wrong.
"The Verizon fraud people they said ‘yes we see this, this is fraud we're going to shut everything down, don't worry about it.’ At that point, there was an $875 bill due,” said Maxfield.
But a month later they got another bill, this time for $3,900. They called back and were told the lines were shut down but not the account and the bill was sent to collections.
"Pay attention to everything that you get in the mail and don't just look at it and say this is junk it doesn't have anything to do with me. We could have thrown that document away because it wasn't the right last name."
CMPD says there are steps you can take to secure your information including freezing your credit account and checking your credit report often.