Identity theft has fast become a serious threat in this time of economic uncertainty. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Many of us even know someone that has fallen victim to identity thieves.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, such as your name, Social Security Number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. Consequently, the actual crime can take many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.
While some victims can resolve their problems quickly, quite a few spend hundreds of dollars and weeks repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Others may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.
This section contains helpful online resources on Identity Theft. I encourage everyone to review this information, and share it with friends and family members to ensure they are informed about how to protect themselves from Identity Theft.
Resources for ID Theft/Web Sites/Phone Numbers
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf - Actual IRS affidavit form
http://www.ftc.gov - Federal Trade Commission online
http://www.irs.gov/privacy/article/0,,id=186436,00.html - Identity Theft and Tax Records Information from IRS
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ - FTC Identity Theft Site
http://www.lifelock.com/ - LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Service
Key Phone Numbers
1. FTC- 1-877-438-4338.
2. IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit is 1-800-908-4490
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