7On your side: Fighting identity theft - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Fighting identity theft

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

What would you think if you started getting mail delivered to your address but with someone else's name? It's happening to an elderly couple in our area. The elderly couple contacted us because they are not sure why they are getting mail to a stranger, but with their street address.

And we have not been able to get all the answers we'd like. But the situation certainly suggests they may be the victims of identity theft.

For the last year the elderly couple has received mail at their home-- first to one man and then another name of someone they don't know. And the mail was from businesses such as banks, finance companies and even an appliance store. President of the Better Business Bureau, Carmen Million, says they have legitimate concerns. 

"If they start receiving mail that they didn't ask for or that is in somebody else's name, if they start receiving subscriptions they didn't request or, course, if they start receiving calls from collection agencies which, in fact, this couple did receive a call from a collection agency and that's when you need to be concerned," said Million.

The couple sent the mail back to the post office and contacted the credit bureaus as well as law enforcement which Million says is appropriate.

"If, as in this case, the consumers received up to twenty pieces of mail, then you need to be concerned.  Not only get the postal authorities involved but the local authorities, maybe the FBI," said Million. "Because if you are a victim of identity theft they need to be aware of it."

Million urges consumers to identify suspicious activity by monitoring financial accounts and bank statements and checking their credit reports on a regular basis to help protect themselves against identity theft and fraud.

"The Better Business Bureau recommends that you, 1. Check your financial records , you want to check your credit report.  In fact, there was a law that was passed in 2005 that allows every consumer to get a copy of their report.  You can go to annual credit report dot com or contact the Better Business Bureau and we'll give you the toll free number," said Million.

So far, it's not clear why the couple is getting mail to names unknown.  But they are determined to stay alert and foil the plans of anyone up to no good.

In this case, the consumers never opened the mail, but simply sent it back to the post office, so it's unclear just what the perpetrator may have been up to.

We have a call into the U.S. Attorney's office to see if, under such circumstances, it is okay to open mail that has your address but names a stranger as the recipient.

For more on identity theft and protecting yourself click here.

Copyright 2013 KPLC All rights reserved

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