Identity Theft is the Fastest Growing Nationwide Fraud Today

by Tove Kou - Date: 2007-04-30 - Word Count: 898 Share This!

Last year nearly 10 million identity thefts were reported, alone, in US. It is a nationwide growing epidemic fraud, and is has been growing the last five years. There is very little you can do to prevent it, and the worst thing is, when you detect the identity theft it's probably to late!

Identity theft or identity fraud is the taking of the victim's identity to obtain credit, credit cards from banks and retailer, steal money from the victims existing accounts, apply for loans, establish accounts with utility companies, rent an apartment, file bankruptcy or obtain a job using the victims name, and without the victim knowing about it for months or years.

You may ask yourself the question on how the imposter takes your identity? Most victims don't even know how the thief got their identity numbers because it is so easy. What worse is that for the criminal identity theft is a relatively low-risk, high-reward endeavor. All that is needed is you social security number, your date of birth, and other identifying information such as your address, phone number and whatever they can find out about you.

With this information, and a false drivers license, with their own picture, they can begin the crime. They apply in person for instant credit, or though the mail by posing as you. They often provide an address of their own, claiming to have moved.

Negligent credit grantors, in their rush to issue credit, do not verify information or addresses. When the imposter opens the first account, they use this new account along with the other identifiers to add to their credibility. This facilitates the proliferation of the fraud. Now the thief is well on his/her way to getting rich and ruining your credit and good name.

Where the thief get information`s about you, could be in lots of places as ,your doctor, dentist, lawyer, school, place of work, health insurance carrier, accountant and where ever others have your identifying information. If some criminally minded person is working at the office, or just visiting, decides to use this information to assume your identity, you would not know it before it's to late.

Also if this information is not disposed of with a shredder, a "dumpster diver", the imposter could pick up the information, and begin the crime against you. You do not need to lose your wallet ,or have anything tangible stolen from you, in order to take your identity.

If you do not shred your confidential information, utility bill, credit card slips and other documents, it is easy to "dumpster dive" your garbage. Much of your information is available on the internet, at courts, and accessible from public documents. Additionally, if someone obtains you credit report illegally, they have all the information necessary to become you.

When you discover that you have been a victim of identity theft it might be when a creditor contacts you or you will be denied credit, or you will see charges on bills, that are not yours. As soon as you are aware of the fraud you must contact the major credit reporting agencies immediately, and get a fraud alert on your credit profile. It is also important to contact your local police station for advice and to report the theft.

Another question you might ask yourself is, if you should change your social security number just to be safe. My advice to you would be to ask the Police, because you might not be the only one, who is a victim of Identity theft. If you live in a smaller town the local police might not know it right away, but they have the possibilities to ask a major police office. My advice is also to contact a lawyer, who knows about cases, like yours, or is able to recommend you to the right authorities.

If you own an online business you can take some precautions. If you pay by credit card make sure it's a safe site, and notice the little "padlock" in the bottom or the top of the site. When you see this "padlock" it is a safe site, and your credit card information`s are safe to sent to the merchant.

Be careful when you use the Internet and protect yourself by using a virus protection program , and make a scan of your computer frequently. If you use online banking make sure always to go to your browser and type in the website address of your bank.

Be careful when your click on links in Emails, telling you that your bank has a message for your. You also have to be careful opening links and files in Emails, if you don't trust the sender or know the person/firm, don't open it.

Another precaution you can use is to make proper passwords for your business programs. Don't use passwords with your birth date, mothers maiden name, or any of your present identifiers not even your pets name. Make up a strange name using small and large letters combined with numbers and figures.

To protect yourself against identity theft you must keep your passwords in a safe place and never keep the code, for your credit card at the same place, as your credit card. Go to your bank and collect a special card to remember your code. Download tools for your computer to remember your passwords, then it makes your work easier and you only open this "tool" with one single password ,to remember.

Related Tags: identity theft, fraud, theft, thief, theft identity

Tove Kou's work at home website provides you with articles, information and insider secrets to help you market your business on the internet. To find this and much more, check out her website at:

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