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Wednesday, 11 March, 2009 0:19 AM

Identity theft claims in the U.S. rise by 21 percent

Graphic credit www.s218.photobucket.com

 

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

 

The Federal Trade Commission has recently revealed to the public that the number of identity theft complaints across the United States have gone up to 21 percent over the last two years. Though Michigan is ranked 19th out of the 50 states in the list, it is still pretty high.

According to Courtney Reed, there has been a 15 percent increase out in Livonia from the Detroit area; the year before, it was 18. "The top reason is through credit card fraud," she states, "where people have the opportunity to open up an account." The thieves use credit cards, spend the money on it, and you're the one left holding the bag: meaning you're the one who has to pay the debt.

Reed is one of the public affairs coordinators for Lifelock, the Arizona-based company that is in the lead of identity theft prevention since 2005. She has also stated that Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, and Nevada are the top five of identity theft complaints because they're all Southwest and bordering states that also involve immigration.

Arizona has the highest due relation when it comes to employment. Both Arizona and Florida have huge demograhics of senior citizens, who come to the Sunshine State to either travel and/or retire to collect their pension and Social Security checks. "If I became a victim of identity theft," she responds, "that is because someone is using my social security card."

Though a crime, being charged with identity theft isn't the same as being charged with robbery, for one out of 700 people are caught. "The thief will get the money and can spend whenever neccessary," according to Reed, "but chances [of getting caught] are very slim. Typically, if you get caught for identity theft, it's a high-reward, low-risk crime. Your sentence isn't very much. Every state has different laws, and every kind of identity theft is different per law."

However, ordering your credit report to be delivered by mail is one way to prevent this, in which it'll document current transactions to see whether if you're the victim of identity theft or not. It can be done at www.annualcreditreport.com. Even Lifelock has a $1 million guarantee, so that should anything happens to you, the company would do whatever it takes to clean up your credit report.

You can find out more information on Lifelock at their website.

 

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