Identity theft at all-time high; ordeal for some victims never ends

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A new report on identity theft shows the crime is at an all-time high with nearly 13 million victims last year alone. Denver resident Tiffany Garcia is one of those people.

“I don’t know how many people I could tell you through the past 13 years that have used my identity,” she said.

Garcia’s ordeal began back in 2000.

“We went to file our taxes and it got rejected because somebody had already filed,” she said.

That’s when she started checking her credit report and found one thing after another. At one point she called one of the “Tiffany’s” using her social security number and birth certificate, which had been stolen.

“She [said she] bought them for $1500 and what she had to do was find a job, get on her feet do whatever she had to do, and then she had to give them back so he could sell them to somebody else,” Garcia said.

Identity theft has affected every aspect of Garcia’s life.

“My credit score is so low, it’s so bad,” she said. “You want to go get a car and you can’t even get a car, you want to buy a house, you can’t buy a house, you want a loan you can’t get a loan.”

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations is one of several local agencies that can help fight identity theft. They have important advice everyone should follow.

“If somebody calls you and says they need your account information over the phone, don’t do it,” said CBI spokesperson, Susan Medina. “Get your credit report, review it and make sure there are no new accounts that you didn’t open. Just make sure everything adds up.”

Garcia is now extra careful with her information, and she wouldn’t wish identity theft on anyone.

“It hurts, it really does. I do cry, because it’s frustrating,” she said.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations has a 24-hour hotline for victims. You can reach them at 1-855-443-3489.