On Your Side: ID Theft

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February 7, 2007

Identity theft may not be something you think about too often, but with 23,000 people becoming victims every day...maybe you should.

For the seventh year in a row, the Federal Trade Commission says identity theft is the most frequent consumer complaint.

12 is On Your Side with how you can keep from becoming a victim.

A recent survey by an identity theft prevention group says about 40 percent of people think most identity thieves hit you online. But in all actuality, identities are stolen online only 9 percent of the time.

That means 91 percent of the time, this is happening because thieves are stealing your information from your trash--things you should be shredding at home. That includes stuff like old bank statements, unwanted credit card offers and credit card receipts.

That's where the thieves can get account numbers and social security numbers, all of which you probably want to keep private.

This is a problem that is here to stay.

"Identity theft is not going away," ID theft expert Linda Foley told 12 On Your Side. "It's going to keep growing. It's going to keep evolving. Just as we have become defensive drivers, we have to become defensive consumers, and part of that involves shredding."

One other thing you can do is to check your credit report at least once a year. Americans are guaranteed one free credit report per year. Click here for yours.

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