How to Avoid Identity Theft
- Consumer Sentinel Network
- The President's Identity Theft Task Force
- FTC Survey
- 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research Report
- Immigration Fraud
- It Can Happen to Anyone
- A Big Problem
- Terrorism and Identity Theft
- What Do Identity Thieves Do?
- Phishing-Go Phish
- Who Do You Trust?
- How Do You Know That You Have Been a Victim of Phishing?
- What You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft
Maybe Shakespeare was right when he said in Othello, “Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;...but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”
Let’s say you are at a car dealership and the salesman comes back with a long face and tells you the financing on the car you wanted to buy has been turned down, or the dealership has had to go to another loan source that means higher interest and payments. “But I have great credit,” you say.
In another scenario, you apply for another credit card and are turned down. In both cases, you are shown a copy of your credit report and find late-payment notices or applications for credit cards in other cities. Someone has stolen your identity.
Identity theft can result in your being hounded by debt collectors for debts you did not incur; becoming unable to access your own credit cards, bank accounts, or brokerage accounts; being arrested for crimes committed by people who have stolen your identity; or even receiving improper medical care because your medical identity has been stolen and your medical records have been corrupted. In addition, identity theft can ruin your credit rating, which can affect your chances to get a loan, get a job, get insurance, or rent a home.
Consumer Sentinel Network
The Consumer Sentinel Network is a government organization that collects millions of consumer complaints available only to law enforcement. According to its most recent data, identity theft is the number-one consumer complaint. Government documents/benefits fraud was the most common form of identity theft reported, credit card was the second most common form of identity theft, and phone and utilities fraud was the third most common form of identity theft, followed by bank fraud identity theft and loan fraud identity theft.