US clamps down on identity theft

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A US state-sponsored website has been launched to help combat the country's fastest growing crime of identity theft.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Identity Theft Action Plan site includes information on how identity theft occurs, how to prevent it, and steps to take if you become a victim.

It will also provide statistics and information for the law enforcement agencies that investigate these types of crime.

The site offers a downloadable identity theft action plan to help citizens better manage their personal and financial information and be prepared to respond effectively should they become a victim.

Nearly 8.9 million US citizens, or four per cent of the population, will become victims of identity fraud during 2006. The average fraud amount per victim is US$6,383 and the average time taken to resolve the situation is 40 hours.

The Pennsylvania Commission believes that early detection of the fraud can lower the fraud amount and the resultant consumer costs. Almost half of cases can be detected by the victim which results in lower consumer costs.

By developing a personal identity theft action plan, citizens can document the financial institutions that issue their credit and bank cards, and the fraud reporting numbers for those businesses.

The site also includes information on filing a police report, filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and filing reports for lost or stolen driving licences, state-issued photo identification cards, health insurance cards, Social Security cards and passports.
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