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IDENTIFY THEFT & FINANCIAL PRIVACY SAFEGUARDS & RESOURCES

Mr. Privacy Invasion sees it all


Identify theft, privacy invasion and safeguards, protecting your credit, personal data and PC, exploitation of your personal records, self-defense to fight electronic snoops, where to turn if you're a victim:


When you want to correct or check out your credit, go to these three sites: Equifax, (report fraud to 1-800-525-6285)  Experian (report fraud to 1-888-397-3742) and Trans Union (report fraud to 1-800-680-7289).

How identity theft occurs
: "When bad things happen to your good name," is a vital document to read or download in order to help prevent someone from ruining your credit and your good name.  Learn how  identify theft occurs, how to minimize risk, and more from the FTC.

This FTC site for victims of ID theft helps you minimize your risk, file a complaint, review federal and state laws, and get sound advice. Or call their hotline toll free: 1-877-IDTHEFT.

The Social Security Administration has info on what to do if someone misuses your SS number, and you can call the SSA's Fraud Hotline:  1-800-269-0271.

From the US Dept. of Justice, here's more valuable info on identity theft and identity fraud, and what to do to avoid being a victim and what to do if someone steals your identity.

The FDIC offers a checklist for prevention to reduce your risk of becoming an ID theft victim.

This Consumer Privacy Guide helps you take charge of controlling and protecting your privacy

From the American Bankers Association, important steps to take to protect yourself from "account-takeover fraud" or "true-name fraud," plus what to do if you've been victimized.

MoneyCentral offers basic pointers on protecting yourself from the two types of credit fraud -- identity thieves do search the trash!

Check the ID-Theft Survival Kit, FAQ, resources, and prevention advice from Identity Theft.

Protect your rights!
There are over 400,000 thefts of identity each year.  Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers practical tips on safeguarding personal privacy, Internet privacy, identity theft, and more -- fact sheets and resources provide practical tips to empower you to protect personal information from identity thieves.

Identity Theft Resource Center supports helps broaden awareness of identity theft to help decrease the potential victim population.  They offer resources and self help for victims who need to know "Where do I go?" 

Identity theft is the #1 consumer fraud complaint and the statistics are eye-opening:  last year 42% of the FTC's complaints were about identity theft, and over 750,000 people had their identities hijacked and some of the victims were high-profile like Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods.  The CBS Early Show has lots of info and advice on preventing identity theft. 

Just about every move you make on the web is tracked by methods you’ve never imagined.  Privacy.net shows you ways you’re being tracked, shows you how snoopy cookies work, how banner ads track your activity and identity -- a real eye-opener!

The Electronic Privacy Information Center offers extensive privacy information on topics from air travel privacy and cookies, to driving records and workplace privacy, and covers hot topics that affect you and your family every day.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, and you may be a victim and not even know it.  Hundreds of databases already exist containing detailed information about your personal life, buying habits and other lifestyle characteristics.  Here's some eye-opening info and preventive measures to take.

The Center for Democracy & Technology fights for our right to privacy, offers publications, a common sense privacy guide, and news on collection and dissemination of consumer data with criminal or commercial intent.  Plus about 29 anonymizer links so you can surf the web anonymously.   

"How much privacy do you have when companies 'share' your most personal information with 'marketing partners' without your knowledge or consent?"  See "Marketing, Datamining & Your Privacy" at the Electronic Frontier Foundation's site.

Who did you say wants your Social Security number?  Limit who you give it to.  Tips from FindLaw.

From the Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, here are consumer tips that apply in any state.

If you're concerned about directories that include your name in their listings, ask to be deleted.  You can start at WhoWhere.

Computer experts advise you how to surf the web safely, with suggestions on how to protect your machine, your PC's identity, private information and other ways to fight snoops.

ABCNews confirms
that identity thieves steal more than money.   And the nightmare of being victimized and violated can endure for months and even years.  This excellent piece offers some alarming news as well as tips to protect yourself from Chris Wallace's Internet Expose.

Warning:  crooks now snatch data from ATMs -- like the ones in grocery stores -- and rob your bank account.  They not only steal the account number, but also the "secret" personal identification number, then they electronically rob victims who are suddenly sapped of cash.  This scam has already struck in New York, Florida, California and parts of Canada.  ABCNews has the scoop.

Kudos! to Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Internet user handbook, "Know the Rules, Use the Tools," to protect your privacy on the webYou're vulnerable so check these resources and solutions -- the handbook is designed for you to download.

How to fight this plague?  Privacy advocates say that states have to unite to turn up the pressure on the federal government to solve the epidemic of identify theft.

Remember, your personal info and identity are at risk both online and off!  ABCNews offers tips and advice on how to be less vulnerable at the mailbox and the email box.

As a public service for parents, kids, educators and librarians to get cyber savvy, the DMA offers its Guide to Online Basics, Behavior and Privacy

An army of information brokers and private investigators are stealing personal financial data and selling it. And bad credit can haunt you for the rest of your life.  Here are some invaluable feature stories from USAToday:  Act now to prevent identity theft, How to tell if you are a victim of identity theft, and why Employment records prove ripe source for identify theft. 

Cyberbazaars
operated by residents of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia trade in tens of thousands of stolen credit-card numbers offered for sale each week on the Internet.  It's no surprise that the fraud rate on the web is 0.25 percent for Visa and MasterCard transactions, which is triple the 0.08 percent for Visa and 0.09 percent for Mastercard offline. (The same research report says that credit card payment fraud will cost online merchants a minimum of $1 billion a year.  No problem, they'll just pass the cost on to us.)

The FTC offers a top 10 consumer fraud complaints list with a few helpful tips.  There's also a list of top fraud categories by state at Consumer Sentinel, which share data with 60 different U.S. and Canadian sources.

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