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Scam Jam held to combat identity theft

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WILMINGTON -- identity theft is a growing problem -- especially among the elderly. An event Wednesday in New Hanover County aimed to educate those most vulnerable. Some who attended said the info learned Wednesday, would have been helpful to know years ago. Identity theft victim John Wilder said, "Someone in Florida was working under my social security number. I didn't find out about it until I went to get credit and I found out that I owed the IRS $18,000." Fifteen years ago Wilder became a victim of identity theft. Wednesday he gave his full attention to speakers at Scam Jam 2008, absorbing advice so he doesn't become a victim a second time around. "I've learned quite a bit from this, the information was enormous," Wilder said. Much of the information came from Caroline Farmer with the NC Department of Justice. She said, "Watch over your credit report. It's not to see if you have good credit, it's to see if someone is using your name for good credit." Farmer also advises never giving out your social security number, even when it comes to medical emergencies. "Identity theft is still occurring the most old fashioned methods. They're going through your trash; they're stealing your wallet and so forth." Wilmington resident Raymond Hayes said, "I don't want to be a victim, I want to solve a problem before it happens." Which is exactly what Farmer says is the point of Scam Jam. "We love giving out this information, we hope everyone leaves here will leave and take the information to their neighbors and family and friends." "I will be discussing it with my neighbors, other seniors who are not here," Wilder said. Hayes says the information was so helpful he even plans to make copies of brochures handed out to give to friends. For more info visit: www.annualcreditreport.com www.mydistrictattorney.com You can also call the local district attorney's office at 341-1420 for advice.

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