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ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2001
27 pages
This booklet describes how to guard against and recover from identity theft.
The 1990's spawned a new variety of crooks called identity thieves. They co-opt some piece of personal information and appropriate it without the owner's knowledge to commit fraud or theft. It is probably impossible to completely prevent identity theft, but individuals can minimize the risk by managing personal information wisely, cautiously, and with heightened sensitivity. The booklet suggests care in deciding with whom to share personal information, especially data such as a Social Security Number. Know the person or organization who has asked for the information, why they need it, and what will happen if you choose not to provide it. The booklet suggests what to do if you are a victim, how to obtain assistance from the Federal Clearinghouse for Consumer Complaints and other organizations, and what aid is available through Federal and State laws. A section on resolving credit problems discusses credit reports, credit cards, debt collectors, ATM cards, debit cards, and electronic fund transfers. Finally, the booklet identifies resources within Federal, State, and local governments, and credit bureaus. Resources