Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Identity thieves can rob you of money, time, affordable credit and your reputation — and you may not even realize it.
Underreported for years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now says that as many as one in every eight adults and one in every four households has been victimized by identity thieves in the past five years. Ten million Americans in the past year alone have fallen victim to this destructive crime.
The costs to individuals and businesses are astronomical and rising. The FTC reports direct out-of-pocket losses to consumers of $5 billion during the last year alone, and says businesses and financial institutions lost a staggering $48 billion during the same time period.
And the repercussions of identity theft go far beyond the wallet for many. Americans now spend almost 300 million hours resolving problems related to identity theft each year. Many victims report ongoing problems beyond direct financial loss, including loan or insurance rejection, criminal investigation or harassment by creditors, as a result of the fraud.
The good news is that the costs to victims of identity theft — both in terms of out-of-pocket expense and in time resolving problems — are substantially smaller if the misuse is discovered quickly. And according to the FTC, a majority of victims first detected the fraudulent activity by actively monitoring their accounts.
Identity Guard ® helps you protect against financial harm caused by criminals who may tamper with your credit and steal your identity through a comprehensive early warning system that monitors your credit files for potential fraudulent activity and reports any changes directly to you. Identity Guard can't prevent identity theft, but it can help you get the early jump on would-be thieves before more damage is done to your credit and your name.
If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the Consumer Fraud Resource Center, a valuable benefit of your Identity Guard membership. Our Fraud Specialists can help you take the steps necessary to get you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. To learn more about how to protect yourself from identity theft, please contact the following government agencies and non-profit organizations.
The Federal Trade Commission:
The FTC enforces various federal consumer protection laws and seeks to eliminate any unfair practices that may threaten consumers. Visit the FTC's Identity Theft site for more information on how to protect yourself and recover from fraud.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation:
Founded in 1908, the FBI provides investigative and law enforcement assistance to protect individuals from violations of the law.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service:
As the primary law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a long, proud history of fighting criminals who attack our nation's postal system and misuse it to defraud, endanger or otherwise threaten the American public.
United States Secret Service Financial Crimes Division:
The Secret Service investigates crimes associated with financial institutions. Today, this jurisdiction includes bank fraud, access device fraud involving credit and debit cards, telecommunications and computer crimes, fraudulent identification, fraudulent government and commercial securities and electronic funds transfer fraud.
Identity Theft Resource Center: http://www.idtheftcenter.org
National Center for Victims of Crime: http://www.ncvc.org
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:http://www.privacyrights.org
The National Fraud Information Center: http://www.fraud.org
The National White Collar Crime Center: http://www.nw3c.org