(PRWEB) September 12, 2003

Las Vegas, Nevada – Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Bill Gates and one out of every eight Americans, what do they all have in common? All have been victims of identity theft. With 9.9 million victims last year alone, the FTC warned the thefts cost businesses $ 48 billion and over $ 5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses to individuals in 2002, with an upward trend continuing in 2003. Identity theft can happen to anyone, no matter their age, gender, economic status, or race. It is now one of the fastest growing crimes not only in America but worldwide. It is big business, providing a very lucrative and low risk revenue stream to the thieves perpetrating the crime. Statistically, over 9.9 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2002, up 86% from 2001,and current incidence trend analysis indicates a similar upturn in 2003.

Identity theft or fraud is the unauthorized use of another person’s identification with the intent to commit any unlawful activity. It occurs when a con artist uses an individual’s personal information to apply for a loan, a credit card, a driver’s license, or even a job. In our media-driven society where individuals are often perceived as guilty until proven innocent, this crime can lead to a ruined credit rating, a tarnished reputation, and even wrongful imprisonment. With the recent implementation of regulations under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, financial institutions have more of a responsibility to safeguard the personal information of their customers than ever before, but despite this the crime continues to flourish enjoying an incredible growth rate, almost doubling every year.

Identity thieves employs a variety of methods to steal key pieces of individuals’ identities from low tech “dumpster diving” to high tech Hacking. Once a thief has information such as a Social Security number, driver’s license, credit card, or bank account number, it is an easy process to impersonate the victim. Generally, the identity thief will spend or steal as much money as possible in as short a time as possible, and move on to someone else’s name and information, leaving the victims finances in ruin.

Usually victims are not burdened with paying the bills that identity thieves build up, so the thieves claim that it is a “victimless Crime”. However, what does ensue after being victimized is the long and often arduous task of clearing their credit report, righting their financial status, and regaining control of their identity. While struggling through this complicated and lengthy process, they often experience difficulty in obtaining new credit, securing personal loans, buying a house or car, sometimes even losing even established credit lines. Victims of identity theft often find that the authorities are unable to offer ant real assistance as they attempt to uncover the deception that has allowed another person to impersonate them.

Today, Americans are all too familiar with the term “identity theft,” but the vast majority has no concept of how damaging it is or how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, consumers are rarely alerted to identity theft until the fraud has been perpetrated, and by then it’s too late. This is a national and international dilemma of epic proportions. U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, issued the following statement in relation to this growing economic menace “…the greatest threat to consumers today is the growing menace of identity theft. Identity theft is far more insidious and harmful to our national welfare than many realize. It attacks the trust and confidence that nurture our open economy, even as it destroys individual lives.”

Introducing Identity Shield

Identity Shield is a comprehensive membership service and instructional guide designed to keep you well informed and help you guard your personal information. Identity Shield members will receive a host of services and benefits. These services and benefits will educate and simplify the process consumers must go through in order to ensure the accuracy and privacy of their credit related information. The FTC said you can’t totally protect yourself from identity theft, but you can lower your risk by monitoring your accounts, checking your credit report regularly and being careful about who sees your personal information, and you can accomplish this safely and easily by joining Identity ShieldÔ

About Identity Protection Group

Identity Protection Group is a subsidiary of Allen Mulligan Rearden LLC it was founded in response to the growing threat posed by identity theft. Our experts have appeared on numerous Radio and Television shows and have real world experience in dealing with identity theft, as well as extensive experience in financial services, the credit industry, and consumer advocacy. Our goal is to protect consumers from becoming victims of identity theft, and help those individuals who have already been victimized through the long and arduous process of restoring their personal financial privacy.



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