The representative agreed to remove the charges, but blamed the theft on me.When I asked how the store authenticated the thief, he told me that employees of stores owned by the mobile carrier would have asked for the account holder’s photo ID and the last four digits of their social security number, but if the theft occurred at another retailer, that might not have happened.Identity theft reports to the FTC likely represent only the tip of a much larger iceberg.

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A North Carolina church received an AT&T bill for 17 i Phones purchased by an identity thief.

In December 2015, four suspects were charged with using fake identity documents to purchase i Phones at AT&T stores in Kansas.

By January 2016, that number had increased to 2,658 such incidents, representing 6.3% of all identity thefts reported to the FTC that month.

Such thefts involved all four of the major mobile carriers.

A few weeks ago an unknown person walked into a mobile phone store, claimed to be me, asked to upgrade my mobile phones, and walked out with two brand new i Phones assigned to my telephone numbers.

My phones immediately stopped receiving calls, and I was left with a large bill and the anxiety and fear of financial injury that spring from identity theft.This post describes my experiences as a victim of ID theft, explains the growing problem of phone account hijacking, and suggests ways consumers and mobile phone carriers can help combat these scams.My Experiences as a Victim of ID Theft One evening my mobile phone stopped working mid call.I learned that the thief had used a fake ID with my name and her photo.She had acquired the i Phones at a retail store in Ohio, hundreds of miles from where I live, and charged them to my account on an installment plan.The Growing Problem of Phone Account Hijacking Records of identity thefts reported to the FTC provide some insight into how often thieves hijack a mobile phone account or open a new mobile phone account in a victim’s name.