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What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone assumes your identity and opens bank, credit card or other accounts to commit fraud or theft. The Federal Trade Commission says the crime is growing at an alarming rate, with estimated 9.9 million victims in 2002. And, creative crooks are plotting new schemes all the time.

How does identity theft happen?
Con artists need only one slip of paper to steal your identity. Go inside the mind of former identity thief Frank Abagnale (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie "Catch Me If You Can"), and check out Abagnale's anti-identity theft tips.

What if I'm a victim?
You must prove you're a victim of identity theft -- not a deadbeat who doesn't want to pay bills. Act quickly and follow these eight steps to clean up your credit. This worksheet will help you track your calls.

Can I protect myself?
Vigilance is your best weapon. Routinely check your credit report for unauthorized activity, guard your Social Security number and keep track of all your accounts. More tips.

Is help available?
Some companies are joining in the battle but do you need their help?

Why are students at risk?
College students forced to flash their Social Security number on a daily basis need to be especially careful.

 

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LEARN MORE
The price of shredders
Dr. Don's advice on identity theft
Identity theft horror story
IRS identity theft scam
Attack of the cloned cards
Fed to banks: Take basic steps to stop identity theft

TOOLS
A clean-your-credit worksheet
Quiz: Are you safeguarding your identity?
How to order and read your credit report
8 steps to take when your identity is stolen
Identity theft Q & A
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Updated: June 25, 2004

 
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