Avoiding identity theft this holiday season

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Identity theft is a growing problem nationwide that's effecting millions of Americans. Grand Junction is also seeing the trend, especially around the holiday shopping season.

Nicole Ramsey of Grand Junction said her wallet is missing after she went shopping at the Dollar Store. Ramsey said, "I was walking from the Dollar Store to Walmart and I had the wallet in the dollar tree bag wedged in my daughter's backpack and when I got to Walmart, it wasn't in the bag."

It wasn't just credit cards taken, Ramsey's and her daughter's Social Security cards were gone as well. She said, "I called the Dollar Store, nobody turned it in. I called Walmart, nobody turned it in and that's when I started getting scared."

Fortunately, Ramsey said her Social Security card was recovered, but the same can't be said for her daughter. "It's my daughters, which is really scaring me and my husband," said Ramsey. The Grand Junction Police Department said Ramsey's case is still an open investigation.

The Grand Junction Police Department recommends that residents never leave their Social Security card in a wallet. Public Information Officer for the Grand Junction Police Department, Kate Porras, said, "Sometimes when you have it with you, it makes you an easy target."

Ramsey said keeping her Social Security card in her wallet was normal. "It was just a habit that I've always done. It's something that I won't do after that," she said.

Porras said there are lots of easy ways to avoid becoming a victim. "It's very easy for people to swipe your wallet and if they have your Social Security card it's very easy for them to steal your identity."

Ramsey also gave her own advice, "Keep your wallet hidden so they are not visible. That was my problem, I had my wallet visible so I could look down and make sure it was there, but you never know who can take it or who could be sneaky to take it."

"It does happen here and it happens everywhere, unfortunately. So no matter where you are, you really need to be protecting yourself and your important information," said Porras.

Read the original version of this article at www.kjct8.com.

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