Betz-Hamilton had her identity stolen in 1993 when she was 11,
but didnít make the discovery until she was 19. ďI was renting an
apartment and needed to apply for electric service,Ē Betz-Hamilton
explained. ďMy credit report returned with ten pages of fraudulent
credit card entries.Ē
It wasnít until 2013 that Betz-Hamilton learned it was her own
mother who had stolen her identity. The discovery was made after her
mother passed away.
Credit information bureau, Transunion, reports identity theft is the
fastest growing crime in America, with 32 percent of cases having a
family member or relative responsible for the theft. In an interview
with CBS news, Betz-Hamilton revealed her mother had also stolen her
father and grandfatherís identities.
As an Assistant Professor of Consumer Studies at Eastern Illinois
University, Betz-Hamilton uses her identity theft experience in her
career. Her current research focuses on financial education,
consumer protection, financial exploration within families and
identity theft. In 2012, she received the American Association of
Family and Consumer Sciences New Achievers Award and in 2013, the
Illinois Council of Family Relations Outstanding Service Award.
[to top of second column]
Those interested in learning more about Betz-Hamiltonís
experience and how to protect themselves against identity theft
should sign up for Heartlandís community education course,
Identity Theft 101: An Introduction to an Insidious Crime.
The class takes place Monday, September 29 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
in room 112 on Heartlandís Lincoln campus, 620 Broadway Street.
Registration fee required. To register, visit
heartland.edu/communityEd or call (217) 735-1731.
[Text received; BECKY GROPP,
HEARTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE]