Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Experts offer tips for avoiding identity theft

November 26, 2002


How can you tell if you are a victim of identity theft?

U.S. Attorney James Comey, who announced charges Monday in New York in what could be the largest case of identity theft in the nation's history, cited warning signs.

If bank statements and credit card statements aren't arriving, Comey said, that could mean someone has stolen your identity. He warned consumers to watch their bank accounts closely, check their credit reports regularly and guard their personal information.

Victims usually are not liable for fraudulent charges, but it can take time and money to undo damage.

Mary Ann Avnet, vice president of Chubb Group of Insurers in Warren, N.J., suggested consumers order credit reports at least twice a year, or more often if they have been victimized by identity fraud.

Avnet also said people could require the use of identification whenever their credit cards were used. She cautioned consumers not to throw away items containing such personal information such as Social Security, driver's license and credit card numbers.

Comey suggested consumers study how to protect themselves on the Federal Trade Commission's Web site,, or by calling the toll-free phone number 877-IDTHEFT.

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