A clear path out of the nightmare.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and in many cases the victim has no knowledge of the theft until the situation is dire. Author Mari J. Frank, an attorney and advocate for victims of identity theft, takes the reader through every step necessary to reclaim their identity and wipe the records of theft off of all reports. Covers every kind of fraud including bank, credit card, loans, insurance, medical, government, tax, professional license, business, employer, and online
A step by step process to reclaiming identity and wiping the records of theft off all reports
Page iv, section Square Away the Bureaucracies, paragraph 1, line 1:
Dealing wih the Government
Dealing with the Government
Ask the Author
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft by Mari Frank
What encompasses “identity theft” these days?
Great question since identity is an epidemic that is spreading far beyond the theft of credit. We are seeing more bank fraud, especially with debit cards, checks, and electronic funds transfers. Medical identity theft has become easier and more prevalent; government benefit identity theft includes problems with the IRS, social services, worker’s compensation, disability, and veteran benefits. As a result of the anonymity of the internet and other electronic devices we have seen a huge jump in cyber identity theft—aside from financial gain, this often is a favorite of someone who wants revenge against the victim. The absolute worst type of identity theft is criminal identity theft—when someone uses your identity to commit a crime in your name and you end up with a criminal record.
What is the biggest myth about identity theft?
That it only happens to people who aren’t careful. The reality is that anyone can become a victim and the FBI estimates that one in 5 persons will be victimized. If someone wants to steal your identity you can’t prevent it—yes you can take certain precautions to protect yourself, but in reality your personal information is at your bank, doctor’s office, insurance company, workplace, and the list goes on—if an unscrupulous or desperate person (especially in this economy) wishes to use your identity for financial gain, for services, healthcare, or to avoid incarceration, you are vulnerable. That’s why it is important to know what to do when it happens and to recognize the signs. My book—The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Recovering From Identity Theft-tells you how to detect, remedy, and protect yourself so when it happens you are empowered to recover quickly!
What are the top 2–3 things people do online that make them more vulnerable?
1. They write e-mails with sensitive information like their financial information or personal information without password protecting the information—e-mails are not confidential and can be seen by others.
2. They share information very easily on social networking sites—for example giving your birthday and where you were born will help someone to ascertain your social security number, which is the key to the kingdom of financial identity theft.
3. People use simple passwords and do banking at places like Starbucks, leaving themselves open to spyware.
Are certain groups of people more susceptible?
Actually young persons 18–29 are especially vulnerable since they are often living with roommates and out in the working world and less cautious about who sees their sensitive data. But the truth is that everyone is susceptible—even babies (someone can use the SSN) or people who have died—and of course persons of all ages. After 18–29 year olds, then next highest is 30–49 and 49–59—and of course seniors are susceptible if they depend on others to help them with banking and health care.
How much can it cost to recover from “serious” identity theft if you knew nothing about the process?
It could cost many thousands of dollars depending on the type of identity theft. For example simple credit card fraud in which someone uses your own credit card should cost you nothing—just some time and effort in making calls. However, medical identity theft and criminal identity theft can force you to hire a lawyer and that could be quite expensive. Even complex financial fraud could encompass a real fight with the bank or financial institution. For that reason I wanted to include the important steps to take to help victims avoid having to hire a lawyer like to me to help them recover.
“Serious” means more than just unauthorized debit card usage—but where someone has used your identity to take out loans, etc.
By the way, debit card usage can be horribly challenging—much more than credit card usage. With a credit card you haven’t lost money—when you notice the fraud on a statement and tell the creditor within 2 months you will never be held responsible. However with debit card usage by the fraudster, the money was drained out of the account and now you have to prove your innocence to the bank and it is much more of a problem for the victim.
Has identity theft evolved into something new and different since or because of the Great Recession?
People are more desperate in bad economic times, it is an easy crime and one is rarely caught—it is not a face to face crime. Only about 10% of fraudsters are ever caught and of those 10%, only about another 10% are prosecuted. Easy money and little risk.
Author: Mari J. Frank
Publication Date: 04 May 2010