Savvy Computing:
Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft

November 2003
by Reid Goldsborough

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Imagine having your bank account drained, being unable to use your credit cards, and seeing your credit rating trashed. Imagine then spending hour after hour trying to clear your good name and get your life back together.

Identity theft is the number-one consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Database. An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people a year become victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The scope of the problem may be even worse than this. The number of consumers who have fallen prey to identity thieves is significantly underreported, according to a new report by market research firm Gartner Inc. It estimates that 3.4 percent of U.S. consumers became victims over the previous year.

It’s not just individuals but also organized groups, including international terrorist cells, who commit identity theft, said Jonathan J. Rusch, a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice who specializes in fraud prevention, in a phone interview. “They’re using more and more sophisticated techniques to entice people to grant them access to their personal information and more and more sophisticated technology to access it behind their backs,” he said.

Protective Measures

Now that you’ve had the daylights scared out of you, rest assured–by the very fact that you’re reading this right now, chances are less that you’ll become victimized. Identity thieves are more successful agai…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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