Bill Whitaker, vice president of commercial lending and former certified compliance officer with Heritage Community Bank, said the older generation seems to be more at risk for identity fraud. Older people tend to be more trusting, retired, have a savings account and generally not up to date with technology or scams.
But, identity fraud can happen to people of all ages - children and even the deceased.
"This isn't just something that goes on every now and then," said Sharon Howell, vice president and director of marketing for Farmers National Bank.
Howell and Gooch, along with Debbie Lowe, Robin Cooper and Adam Hopkins, all work with different aspects of identity fraud at Farmers. They said they see it often.
"We want to strive to educate (people) on what to do if it happens," Howell said.
Danville Assistant Police Chief Tony Gray said an identity theft case hasn't been reported to Danville Police Department since Feb. 26 of this year. Last year, 11 cases were reported, with a few being more in the category of stolen credit and debit cards than actual identity theft.
"It is a crime that's picking up," Gray said.
Stealing someone's credit card, debit card, or checks is not really considered theft of identity, he said. Using someone's information to obtain credit or debit cards is identity theft.
Gray said Kentucky driver's licenses used to contain Social Security numbers, which was dangerous in terms of stealing someone's vital information. Having a Social Security number and a birth date is enough to start building a fake account under someone else's name.
Using someone else's good name can be devastating to that person's credit. Gray said a lady was in a situation about five years ago when her roommate stole her personal information. Eight months ago she contacted DPD saying she was still having issues with her credit because of the theft in 2001.
"Once your name gets black-marked, it can take years to fix," Howell said.
Identity theft is a felony, but Gray said most convicted thieves only end up probated and paying restitution.
But there are ways to help prevent it in different situations.
Dispersing personal information over the telephone can be risky, even when the person sounds legit, or says he or she is employed by a well-known company. Whitaker and Gray both discourage anyone from doing business over the phone.
"Sometimes it's not identity theft, but a misrepresentation," said Hopkins, a security officer.
The person on the other end may be asking simple, seemingly innocent questions. This is what's known as "phishing."
Howell said when people call to perform a survey, they could possibly be asking questions to figure out patterns of the household - when someone is home, when everyone is gone, how often the Internet is in use. A scam artist can be very convincing.
"These people work very hard to get you to trust them," said Cooper, a compliance auditor.
Hopkins said if one is uncomfortable about giving any information over the phone, call that person back, even if it seems like an inconvenience. Make sure to call a printed, documented number of the company, not what shows up on caller ID.
Ask the caller questions in return. If the company is not legitimate, chances are he or she will be intimidated by the aggressiveness and hang up. Make sure other people in the household know not to give out information.
Howell said Farmers National Bank, and other banks, will not call to get information over the phone. Also, Hopkins said don't be fooled by companies calling or e-mailing to "update your information." Most times this is a way to get information that gets sold to other companies.
E-mail and the Internet
Congratulations on your winnings!
This is something that people are seeing on subject lines of e-mails. Whitaker said he recently received this e-mail.
Instead of opening the e-mail, he printed it. The e-mail asked for a name, address and phone number. But what raised a major red flag, the e-mail asked for his e-mail address. Whitaker said this is more than likely a mass e-mail sent with hopes someone will reply.
"(They are) phishing - looking for a bite to get any little bit of information they can to build on," Whitaker said.