Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year and is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation. Identity theft accounted for 36 percent of all complaints received by the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) in 2006, of which, Californians represented 17 percent of these complaints.
Identity theft is serious and the crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.
The information offered here is intended to help you take steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft and to help you take the actions necessary to resolve problems and recover your good name should you become a victim.