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So you visit Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) web site, where you read statement: "The FTC serves as federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of Identity Theft. While FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint helps us investigate fraud, and can lead to law enforcement action."
In other words, BBB and FTC will give you information on how to spend 200 hours and $1400, and will let you report information to them which can "lead to law enforcement action."
Beyond that, you're on your own, because they will not work to restore your individual credit. But they will send you a 25 page book with some very helpful information. Good luck.
This is not to fault BBB or FTC. It's only to say that they do not have resources to, on a daily basis, help over 27,000 people restore their good name and credit. Clearly, Americans need a different kind of help to resolve this issue.
Identity Theft Insurance? Several companies, including Citibank and three credit repositories, are offering different kinds of credit monitoring services. You have probably seen very funny Citibank ads, promoting protection of your information from thieves, and as a result of ID Theft epidemic, Citibank now offers protection for their credit cards. This is an excellent idea, but credit card fraud only accounts for approximately 40% of Identity Theft cases.
What about other 60% of identity theft cases? Well, most often, they happen when someone is using your name to obtain credit or employment. The three credit bureaus have stepped in to offer you credit monitoring services, which will let you track what is going on with your credit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This way, if your information is being used by someone you don't know, you will know about it day it happens and, ideally, you'll be able to do something about it. The cost ranges from $4.95/month to $19.95/month. With these services, you're generally still on your own to get issue resolved, but hopefully early detection will help you be able to resolve issue in less than 200 hours, and with less than $1,400.00.
Another company has stepped in, because they have seen this trend, and need that consumers have for protection from identity theft. Kroll Worldwide is world's foremost risk consulting company. They've been responsible for things like:
Tracking Saddam Hussein's money after first Gulf War, creating an evacuation plan for Sears Tower and many of world's tallest buildings, and handling high profile cases such as Enron debacle.
Kroll has created a product which not only monitors credit on a daily basis, and (like credit repositories) gives you credit reports in a way that you can understand them, but they also assign a personal licensed investigator to you, who will do work along side of you, to get your credit and identity restored and to track down thief who committed crime. This saves you time and money
Identity Theft shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, many state and federal law enforcement agencies are predicting that problem will get worse before it gets better. Other companies are sure to follow lead of Kroll in providing Identity Theft solutions. Probably no other company will be able to match background and experience of a company like Kroll, but they will create similar products to help consumers, and within next 3-5 years, Identity Theft protection will become an important part of insurance-type products we use to protect ourselves on a daily basis.
In short, what experts aren't telling you is this:
There is no guaranteed way to protect your information,
In an advanced age of rapid and electronic banking and communication, your information is publicly available to anyone who wants to find it,
If you've been a victim before, you're more likely to become a victim again, and
Identity Theft, as a crime, is here to stay.
Changing way that you do things reduces likelihood that you will become a victim, but you have no way of being sure that your information will stay your information.
The real state of affairs today is that you are walking down that dark street on a windy night, and someone robs you, but you don't know it, or feel it, for days, weeks, or months.
Having Identity Theft protection with highly qualified companies like Kroll is like walking down that street, knowing that you have a highly trained personal bodyguard watching your back and walking by your side.
About the Author: Jonathan Kraft is a specialist in computer-related Identity Theft and options within the legal system. For more information on how you can protect yourself and make sure that your information stays your information, visit http://www.consumerfairplay.com/idtheft.html