Accessorize: Identity Theft: America's Fastest Growing Crime
There's an epidemic sweeping across America and it's called identity theft. Most of us know someone who is a victim of the crime. It may have happened to you. Identity theft is scary, confusing, time consuming and expensive. It's also something that is becoming more common as the thieves become more aggressive and sophisticated.
The FBI reports that Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Ten million Americans fell victim to it in 2008, a 22 percent increase over 2007. According to Javelin Research, the crime strikes at least one in four households each year. A national poll indicates 80 percent of Americans are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft. Children under 18 are the fastest growing target, mainly because they do not apply for credit until years later, when they finally find out that their credit is damaged.
Identity theft occurs when thieves use personal information (such as a social security number, credit card number, drivers license number, health insurance number, financial accounts, computer log-in information, etc.) to gain access to money, credit or goods and services. Once the crime occurs, creditors seek payment from the victim. Proving that credit was accessed without knowledge or approval, and the process of restoring good credit, is difficult, costly and time consuming. It can take months or even years to recover an identity. In the meantime, the victim is pursued for payment, their credit standing is damaged and access to credit is impacted.