Identity theft still fast growing crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Identity theft still fast growing crime

January 25, 2006

Albany -- Identity theft for the sixth year in a row is one of America's biggest crime problems. And South Georgia law enforcement says it continues to be the fastest growing crime.

 Credit cards and the Internet are how thieves are stealing people's identities and looting accounts opened in their names.

 The Federal Trade Commission says in the last five years more than 25 million people have been victims of identity theft. Southwest Georgia prosecutors say they know the problem is worse, because many victims don't report it. Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges said "The main problem is most people don't like to report it. They are embarrassed by it, or don't think we can do anything. But law enforcement can, and we urge people to report it."

There are some ways to protect yourself from Identity Theft. Use a shredder to destroy personal documents like credit card bills and bank statements, so thieves can't find them in the trash.

 Make sure your mail is secure. Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet.

Even with these common sense protections, law enforcement admits the I.D. thefts continue to grow as technology advances.

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