Nineteen-year-old Dawn Livingston is a victim of identity theft, and the person who stole her identity wasn't a stranger, but rather someone extremely close to her, one of her own family members.
"I had just moved out, and I noticed bills coming from collection agencies, saying I owe a thousand dollars here, a thousand dollars there, a hundred dollars here," says Livingston.
Thirty-five-hundred dollars worth of debt has now been racked up in Dawn's name, making it nearly impossible for dawn to buy a car, a home, or anything that requires a credit check, and now dawn is stuck in a bind. She says she's filed a police report, but worries about the repercussions that could arise if she takes the family member to court.
"You have a choice; you could bring it to court and the family member will hate you for the rest of their life, or you can stress about it for the rest of your life," says Livingston.
Rockford Police Srg. Bruce Scott says identity theft cases in Rockford are on the rise.
"Several a day come in, two to five a day," says Rockford Police Srg. Bruce Scott.
And Srg. Scott says Dawn's case isn't uncommon. He's urging us to take precautionary steps to keep our financial identities private.
Dawn says if her family member doesn't rectify the situation within 30 days, she'll take the case to court.
"I just tell people to be very cautious, keep all your information private, be aware of what's going on," says Livingston.
If you think your identity has been stolen, contact the three major credit bureaus, file a police report, close the accounts you think have been tampered with, and file a complaint with the FTC.