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Halloween Credit Fears

Identity Theft Scares People More than Monsters or Ghosts!

Halloween night reminds us of our hidden fears. What are you afraid of - ghosts, witches or maybe spiders? According to statistics, nearly 75% of Americans think that identity theft and other kinds of credit card fraud are scarier than Halloween monsters. Just compare: only 9% of people find holiday's horror movies scary, less than 3% are afraid of haunted houses and about 1% of people don't like stories about ghosts and evil spirits.

Halloween is all about scary stuff that involves death, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include jack-o'-lanterns, ghouls, crows, vultures, black cats, goblins, zombies, mummies, skeletons, and other demons. However, most people believe that such Halloween stuff isn't scary - it's fun! People dress up and decorate their homes just for laugh, they don't take it seriously.

But what is scary then? The answer is simple - identity theft. According to the latest researches, people are more afraid of the possibility to spend lots of time and money to repair their credit report than to meet with evil spirits on Halloween.

If you are in that boat, then new Identity Theft Recommendations are for you. Last week the government administration issued its annual Identity Theft Task Force Report. It includes 31 recommendations designed to prevent information theft and other forms of credit card fraud.

The 70-page report describes the measures taken by federal agencies to implement recommendations that were proposed in the Identity Theft Task Force's strategic plan published last year. It emphasized the necessity to reduce the use of Social Security numbers as a main identifier for government agencies and businesses.

It is a well-known fact that a SSN is extremely valuable for identity thieves because it helps open new accounts in the victim's name. So one of the most practical and cost-effective ways to prevent data-security breaches is to collect and store sensitive personal information only when it is really necessary to do so.

This year the Task Force has recommended analyzing how federal agencies use Social Security numbers. It issued new recommendations for reducing or eliminating their use in everyday documentation.

The Task Force also focused its attention on minimizing the identity theft damage. Even though the victims have not committed a crime, they suffer from severe financial consequences. It can take you a lot of time and effort to get your name cleared. The average person spends about 600 hours and $6,000 clearing his or her identity and repairing FICO score! During the time it takes to solve these problems, you may lose a good job opportunity or not qualify for credit cards and loans.

In order to help the victims of identity theft, the Task Force advised to adopt a "passport" document that will verify their identities while disputing or investigating fraudulent charges.

A pilot "passport" program was launched in Ohio by the Justice Department. Victims in this state can fill out their information into a special database that is shared with other law enforcement agencies. That will help reduce possible fraudulent transactions in their names down the road.


05:29 AM, December 19, 2008
tis hallowen was great
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