Idtheft Essay

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Abstract Identity Theft is the nation’s fastest growing crime according to FBI statistics and identity theft/fraud is the fastest-growing category of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaints. An estimated 27.3 million Americans have been victims of some form of identity theft within the past five years according to a September 2003 FTC survey including almost 10 million people in 2002 alone. According to the survey, last year’s identity theft losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled nearly $48 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion out-of-pocket expenses (1). The purpose of this paper is to completely define the threat of identity theft. The paper will outline the following: how identity theft occurs, tips to avoid becoming a victim, and ways to recognize if you’ve been victimized. I will also explore the role of technology in aiding and combating identity theft and how identity thieves use your personal information. Additionally, this paper will provide details on steps to take if you become a victim. Finally, I will discuss some of the identity theft legislation that has been enacted or being proposed. Introduction Unfortunately, the crime of identity theft is not only one that I have chosen to research but one that I was also a victim. In 2003, my credit card information was used to purchase $1000 worth of stereo equipment at an electronics store in Denver, Colorado. The credit card was a debit/check card issued by my local bank. So when purchases were made using the card, the money would be automatically withdrawn from my checking account. As a result, I started receiving overdraft notices for checks which had insufficient funds. Needless to say this was quite a surprise to me. This caused me to investigate the reason for the overdraft charges. I reviewed my checkbook register and noticed my

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