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ID Theft Protection As A White Collar Crime

Aug 14, 2008
We are living in the information age today but one of the drawbacks of easily accessible data is that your personal information may be just lying out there waiting to be snatched by identity thieves. Identity theft has grown to be pervasive and is now one of the dominant white collar crimes today.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft is the largest consumer complaint and the fastest growing crime in America. In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that identity theft affected 9.91 million Americans. In addition, there are probably many more cases that went unreported. Identity theft has accounted for $52,600,000,000 in losses in 2007. Most identity theft victims never know their identity has been stolen until they get phone calls and letters from collections agencies or even the IRS telling them they owe money.

ID theft victims usually experience that fixing the problem can be a nightmare. On average, victims spend up to 600 hours and thousand of dollars in expenses just to prove they are innocent. Worse, contrary to judicial practice, most creditors consider the ID theft victim guilty until they prove otherwise.

The problem is that many people do not take ID theft seriously and do not take the necessary ID theft protective measures. There are many precautionary measures you must do in order to protect yourself from ID theft. The first thing you should do is to check your credit reports at least once a year from all three credit bureaus in order to make sure you do not have accounts you do not know about. The major credit reporting agencies include Equifax, Experian Information Solutions and TransUnion.

In addition, you should shred or burn papers with credit card or bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, etc. These documents may fall to unscrupulous individuals and the personal information might be used to commit ID theft. You should also avoid putting your Social Security number on anything, unless it is legally required. Some checks have the issuers Social Security number on them and some drivers license routinely use Social Security number. This is a big mistake. You should check with the local DMV and bank to see if they offer another option.

In todays information age, physically stealing mail and papers is not the only way to get information.One of the disturbing trends that identity thieves use is phishing. This is a criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive financial and personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing uses spam, email or pop-up messages to deceive Internet users into disclosing credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information. These e-mails appear to come from a legitimate company, usually a financial institution or credit card issuer, urging you to immediately reply with personal information so your account is not deactivated.

Vigilance is the key to ID theft protection. Always file a police report promptly after discovering ID theft as you will need it in disputing fraudulent charges.
About the Author
Matthew Stanton writes an article about ID Theft Protection and how one can benefit from having themselves protected against possible risks. Simply visit this website at ID Theft Protection
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