8. Identity Theft and Your Credit

Identity theft is such a rapidly growing crime that some experts say it’s no longer a matter of whether you’ll become a victim, it’s a matter of when.

Currently, experts estimate more than 8 million people per year fall victim to identity theft. The annual costs of this crime are staggering:

• Billions of dollars in losses to businesses and institutions

• Millions of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for consumers

• Hundreds of millions of hours spent by consumers trying to resolve the problem, stop the fraud, and clear up their credit reports

Identity theft encompasses a variety of crimes, from stealing someone’s credit card number to opening accounts in the victim’s name. About 15 percent of victims report ...

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