What Is Identity Theft?
According to the FBI, identity theft is one of the
fastest-growing crimes in the U.S.
Studies show that about 1 in 5 families in the
U.S. has been a victim of identity theft. It can occur in a variety
of ways, including, stealing your Social Security or credit card
numbers and then changing the address on your bills, using your
information to impersonate you and then rent or buy products, using
your personal information in criminal acts.
Worst of all, you don't even know you have become a victim of this
federal crime until months later, when you are turned down unexpectedly
for a loan, or get a call from a collection agency about an account
you never opened, or worse yet, a call from the police about a crime
you didn't commit. Suddenly you are a victim of identity theft.
Once a thief has tampered with your information, it can take months
to restore your credit rating. It can also cost you money. That
is why it is important to protect yourself before you become a victim.
Seek assistance. Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) is a
non-profit organization offering free or low-cost financial counseling
to help families solve their financial problems. CCCS can help you
analyze your situation and work with you to develop solutions. Currently
there are more than 1200 CCC offices in the U.S. Call 1-800-388-2227
for the phone number of the office nearest you or visit their website: