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      July 21, 2018

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Identity Theft in New Jersey

New Jersey MapIf you live in New Jersey, your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft are high: In a typical year, nearly 7,400 state residents will report such crime to the Federal Trade Commission, representing a rate of 84.5 cases for every 100,000 people in the population.

If you have ever experienced identity theft, you know firsthand the devastation that can occur with savings and checking accounts drained, false tax returns filed by criminals who walked away with your refund, and failed credit checks due to someone else's use of your social security number to rack up huge amounts of debt. Hopefully, you have not been one of the handful of people each year who face jail time when they are convicted of crimes committed by another person who used stolen information as an alias.

What is available to you as a New Jersey resident that can help protect you from identity theft? Many people are choosing to use Identity Theft Protection services, which keep a close watch on customers' data - bank and credit card accounts, social security numbers, and so forth - so that any suspicious transactions or other activity can be detected and stopped quickly, before the thieves have the opportunity to further abuse their victims' reputations and credit ratings. These services are well worth the cost, as repairing the effects of identity theft can be expensive in both money and time.

It is also important for you to be in charge of protecting your information, particularly online. If you receive an email that looks like it comes from a business you trust - maybe a bank or a credit card company - and that has an attachment that you are asked to download in order to fix a problem on your account, it is better to contact the company directly via their website or using the customer service number given on your card or account statement. These emails are often "phishing" for your information, as most companies do not ask customers to download anything directly from an email.

 

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