What is ID Theft?

ID Theft: More than just credit card fraud. 
See 8 Types of ID Theft.

As a partner with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), WhatIsIDTheft.com is a free website that gives out information about various types of Identity Theft. While there isn't a procedure that provides 100% protection against ID Theft there are various ways to dramatically reduce its risk to individuals, companies and other types of organizations. The FTC and other government organizations consider ID Theft as one of the fastest and complicated crimes in the United States. Soon, WhatIsIDTheft.com will offer free consultations to individuals via the telephone as well as in house corporate and small business presentations to employees as well as informational gatherings in community settings such as churches, universities, colleges, and various other organizations. In other words, at WhatIsIDTheft.com, we want to get the word out to everyone no matter the venue.

FTC vs. Cybersecurity:

Where is the line drawn for consumer cysbersecurity protection? How much legal responsibility do companies have in protecting their clients, customers, and others? News accounts of groups like the Russian mafia, and many others, hacking into company databases and stealing personal financial information have been consistently reported on a long-term basis. The end is not in sight.

A relatively 'small' example of this was exposed in the Wall Street Journal on May 13, 2013. The article points out how Wyndham Worldwide Corporation's computer systems were hacked and hundreds of thousands  financial card numbers were allegedly stolen.  This article is not to point out this or any particular company. In fact, the July 4, 2005 issue of Newsweek was titled The Scary New World of Identity Theft. 40 million credit card numbers were stolen.

There is a pervasive epidemic of danger that goes well beyond individuals' credit cards. Government agencies such as the police and FBI are limited while the companies and politicians, who write the laws, seem to be in a conflict of denial while passing on the blame.

The FTC is trying to do something. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. is attempting to get the judge to agree that the FTC has overreached its power and wants the  court case dropped. Other cases resulted in out-of-court settlements which means the FTC's authority on this issues has not been established by a judge according to the WSJ.

The FTC says that companies should shoulder more responsibility whereas companies like Wyndham Worldwide Corp. challenge the FTC's consumer-protection power concerning cybersecurity. Congress is divided, largely along political lines, about the steps needed for cybersecurity protection.

The dilemma is obvious while the danger is neglected.


I read a novel not too long ago. It mentioned WhatIsIDTheft.com. When I went to that site and clicked on the FTC link I decided to check my credit reports. I was a victim of ID Theft and didn't even know it! It wasn't too bad yet. If I hadn't started dealing with it at that time however it would have become real nightmare according to the police. ID Theft can evolve and grow with each particular victim over time. It's an awfully complicated crime.
All I can recommend is for someone to look at their credit reports and get some kind of preventive protection. Once someone is a victim he or she is always at risk. The AnnualCreditReport.com site is the only truly free way to check your credit reports. You can check each of the three main reporting companies once a year. I suggest you check one at a time with four months between each request. This allows for a continuous check without a year long gap in-between checks. The three are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. 
                                                                                               Christine J.

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