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Last Update :
Wed, April 30, 2003 by Meghana Joshi

Identity Theft or Identity Take Over Fraud is a modern reality that hits some 500,000 Americans every year, that is some 1,400 people every day! Some 42 percent of all FTC complaints involve identity theft. This is becoming a serious problem that affects us in many areas of our lives, such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, fraudulent loans, government documents or loans, and unauthorized utility or telephone service charges. In the year 2000, over 20 percent of all the complaints the Federal Trade Commission received involved identity theft.

Everyone of us must become more aware of how to safeguard our name and credit records with the use of personal identifiers.

    Some personal actions you can take include the following :

  • Get a yearly copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies. See the BCN Credit Bureaus page for current addresses.

  • Do not give out personal information over the telephone or any Internet connection without getting a clear statement of how it is going to be used. In particular, note that most web sites have a (often obscure) link to their policy in this area. Review their policy on Cookies

  • Destroy (shred or obliterate your name and identification) any unauthorized credit card applications you get in the mail.

  • Keep track of all uses of your social security number. Contact the Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline at   (800)269-0271 and report the problem.

  • Theft Assumption Deterrence, a fedral law, was passed in 1998 which gives you some recourse if your identity is misused.

  • Contact the Colorado State Department of Motor Vehicles (303)205-5600 and see if they have issued a licence in your name. Do inform them you have been a victim of Identity Theft.

  • As of 03-05-2002, the Federal Trade Commission  has an ID-THEFT Affidavit form to alert businesses that their name has been used fraudulently to open an account. Call (877)438-4338 and ask for a copy of their free brochure - ID Theft: When Bad Things happen to Your Good Name.

  • As of June 2, 2001, some insurance companies have announced that they are offering ID theft insurance to cover the aftermath of a stolen identity, which the victim must cover and can take upwards of two to four years to fully recover. Check with your insurance carrier about the possibility.

  • Check out the Identity Theft web page of the Americans for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) website for more information.

  • For further information visit the website Identity Theft Prevention and Survival

  • Another problem is that many companies regard all their data about you such as private financial information, account balances, debits and credits to be their intellectual property and theirs to sell as they wish. This is part of the "opt-out" legislation that such companies had until June 1st, 2001, to give you a chance to request that your personal information not be distributed.
    Here are a few numbers to call to prevent credit card companies, banks and whoever else from sharing your information with the world:

Some Credit Card Company phone numbers :
Capital One
Chase MasterCard
First USA
Some Bank phone numbers :
Bank One
First Union
Wells Fargo
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