Resolving Specific Identity Theft Problems (Part 1)

By Robert E. Holtfreter, Ph.D., Educator Associate Member

Taking Back the ID 

Our clients and employers look for our counsel on all fraud matters. But our concerned friends, family, and community members repeatedly ask two questions on one type of fraud: "How do I protect myself against identify theft?" and "What do I do if I'm a victim of identity theft?" We have to know what to tell them.

According to 2007 statistics released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the most common identity theft complaints concern credit card fraud (23 percent), phone or utilities fraud (18 percent), employment-related fraud (14 percent), government documents or benefits fraud (11 percent), bank fraud (5 percent), loan fraud (5 percent), and "other" identity-theft-related frauds (25 percent).

Much of the information that follows is taken from the FTC document, "Resolving Specific Identity Theft Problems." In this column and the next I'll outline detailed procedures to follow when attempting to resolve specific types of identity theft frauds. Hopefully, you'll find them helpful enough to share the next time you're sought out for advice on this matter. For our international members, perhaps you could find help in resolving the specific identity theft problems I mention here by checking the Web sites of government agencies in your country that are similar to the ones noted in this column.

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