Colorado tops charts for identity theft

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - They may not take your wallet or your belongings, but that doesn't mean they can't take your identity.

One in ten Americans are the victim of identity theft, and a new report shows Colorado is a big target.

For some it takes weeks or even months before they realize their bank account is slowly being drained and all they're left with is a huge headache.

"I started getting phone calls saying that I owed money for a Sam's Club card that I didn't have," said identity theft victim Donna Vail. "They were going to repossess my Saturn, which I neverowned one, and I started getting suspicious."

Someone hit the jackpot at Donna Vail's expense, and experts say it can happen to anyone at anytime.

"Most identity theft now is being done online, usually through viruses either on your phone or computer," said Miller Wilson, CEO of The Computer Infirmary.

Who is most likely to get burned in the checkbook?

"If you have good credit, you're probably more at risk than someone who doesn't have good credit," said Rick Hamm, Unifirst Mortgage.

But no matter your financial situation, the first step to protecting yourself is being careful with your personal information.

"A good rule of thumb also is to not carry a lot of your identification together," said Hamm. "A good example is if you carry your social security card along with your driver's license in your wallet and or purse. I would suggest that you do not do that."

And when you're using a computer.

"Just don't click on links in emails or on Facebook, go directly to the page yourself, that way you won't get a virus downloaded without you knowing, or you're not submitting information you don't want somebody else to have," said Wilson.

Because Vail says losing money isn't even the worst part of having your identity stolen.

"There's always a creditor on your back, and you have nothing to do with it, and it's very frustrating," she said.

"If someone steals your identity, they can basically take you to the cleaners," said Hamm.

So keep an eye on those credit reports.

"Check them," said Donna, "and if you see something that's not you, get on top of it right away."

Officials recommend keeping all of your personal files locked up or taking advantage of banks which will secure your information.

For a free credit report, you can visit the link below.

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