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How to Avoid Identity Theft

Chapter One
Introduction
It Really is Time to Worry About Identity Theft!
All of us, no matter how careful, can become victims of identity theft. In fact, it
was determined every three seconds another identity is stolen. In 2007 there
were seventy nine million credit card and Social Security Number thefts
according to major news media investigations. That was an increase of four
million additional people over the previous years statistics, that had their
identity or financial information compromised. This makes identity theft one of
the fastest growing crimes in America.
Anyone with a Social Security number and assets to loose should be concerned
with identity theft. Unfortunately, a common belief by many people is they
assume they have nothing significant for thief’s to take advantage of. Bear in
mind criminals are much better than you are at making use of your
information. For example; there is credit card theft where someone steals
your credit card and runs up charges. Identity theft is where someone steals
your personal information (social security number, date of birth, name, etc.)
and uses your identity to open a new line of credit, gain employment or even
establish citizenship.
You must realize that your information is stored locally and nationally. Your
dentist, doctor, banking facility(s), college transcript and club memberships
are examples of data configurations where your personal information is stored.
I don’t have to remind you there have been numerous sophisticated agencies
and institutions hacked into and identities stolen. How easy it would be to
have your identity stolen from neighborhood businesses, your mailbox or even
your trash receptacles. Yes shredding papers listing your personal information
is a great step to protect your identity but as indicated, your information is
everywhere.
It’s no secret that many savvy consumers have learned to place fraud alerts
(more on this later) on their accounts which prompt creditors to call them if
someone is trying to establish credit in their names. But did you know these
alerts are generally only valid for a period of ninety days? Are you really
confident enough to believe your going to take the time or for that matter,
even remember to renew fraud alerts every three months? Remember too,
just because you have fraud alerts placed does not guarantee you from
becoming a victim.
There is an option to implement a credit freeze which locks down all of your
personal information making it impossible for anyone to open a line of credit in
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