Identity theft is commonly one of the fastest growing crimes in America. It is defined as someone using another person's name and identifying information to steal an identity. Identity theft has been the number one reported consumer fraud on the Federal Trade Commission's website for several years. By using your personal information, I.D. thieves can open accounts in your name, and make purchases using your good credit. The thieves will have invoices and bills sent to a phony address, often a P.O. Box number, so you may not discover the crime for years. When the crime is discovered, the crooks move on, leaving their victims to deal with the fraudulent debts. Here are some tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
The Alaska Legislature recently passed a new law that is aimed at protecting the personal information of Alaska consumers. The law requires businesses and government agencies to notify you if your personal information has been compromised, restricts the use of social security numbers, and requires records containing your personal information to be destroyed as soon as it is no longer needed. In addition, the law allows you to place a security freeze on your credit report, and allows you to petition the court for a declaration of factual innocence after identity theft. For more information, read the Alaska Consumer Protection Unit's summary of the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act.