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Guest Column

Protect yourself against consumer identity fraud

consumer identity fraud by Teresa Maher, Better Business Bureau
In an age where all personal and financial information is recorded by various sets of numbers, it is crucial to keep these numbers private and out of the potential grasp of criminals. Thieves lift important pieces of identification such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, telephone calling cards, and ATM cards, often without the owner even knowing they are missing.
   After the information is stolen, it is frequently sold to those in need of a new identity. Once these criminals acquire their new identity, they make as many purchases as possible before they can be tracked. After running out of time, they move on to new identification numbers, and begin the process again.
   If the targeted individuals are unable to stop the criminal activity quickly enough, they frequently acquire a poor financial standing, bad credit reports, and embarrassment over the marred records that now appear to be their own. Several simple measures can be taken to avoid a personal identity scam:   If you believe that any of your personal identification numbers have been stolen: