Identity Theft Mostly Caused by Lost Laptops, Third Parties

Identify theft affected somewhere between 8 and 15 million Americans in 2005, according to Tom Abate’s article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. One report just issued by the Federal Trade Commission estimated that identity theft struck about 4% of all adult Americans in 2005. Those numbers mean that identity thieves are twice as likely to target American consumers as are street criminals. But another report issued last February estimates that the problem is much worse than the FTC calculates. The market research firm Gartner’s study suggested that 15 million Americans had been victimized in the 12-month period ending August 2006....

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Equifax Extends Credit File Freeze Option to All States

Victims of identity theft may opt to have their credit files frozen–meaning no one, not even creditors, may access their credit reports without the victim’s consent. Laws in 39 states, including California, have mandated this option. The credit reporting agencies have opposed these laws, but on October 25, 2007, Equifax announced it would extend the right to freeze consumer files to all 50 states according to its press release. The California Office of Privacy Protection website https://oag.ca.gov/privacy has details on how victims may freeze their credit files.

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