Theft Handbook Now Available
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Theft Handbook: Steps to Protect Yourself" is now available.
your copy now.
(PDF, 1 MB)
During the 2004 Maryland legislative session, MaryPIRG worked with
other consumer organizations to pass the Maryland Social Security
Number Protection Act. Unfortunately, influential representatives
from the insurance industry successfully lobbied Governor Ehrlich
for a veto of the bill.
legislation would have prohibited companies and institutions from
using Social Security numbers as the ID number on people's
accounts. Social Security numbers are the main key for identity
thieves to gain access to people's credit. The bill would also
have forbidden companies from denying service to customers who
decline to supply their Social Security number unless the company
has legal needs to use the number for a transaction.
addition to working to protect our Social Security numbers,
MaryPIRG is identifying public policies that can be implemented on
the state level to better protect Maryland residents from identity
You Can Do
MaryPIRG is collecting stories from victims of identity theft to
demonstrate the need for reform. If you have been a victim, please
tell us your story. If you know someone who has had their identity
stolen, please ask them to tell us about it.
Your personal financial information is bought, sold and traded by
corporations without your permission or knowledge. On a daily
basis, banks, credit card companies and other institutions trade
sensitive data such as credit card numbers, Social Security
numbers, checking account numbers, average account balances,
credit limits, and credit insurance status. They collect
information they don't really need and are sloppy in the way they
manage it. This makes it easy for thieves to get their hands on
a result, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America,
impacting someone every 78 seconds. Complaints to the Federal
Trade Commission doubled last year. At least seven million
Americans were victims of identity theft in the one year period
ending this past July.
is often much more than a matter of asking a credit card company
to remove an erroneous charge. It involves thieves taking out
lines of credit in victims' names, criminals giving someone else's
ID to law enforcement officers, and other types of fraud.
then it's the responsibility of the victim to clean up the mess,
not the sloppy company. The average victim spends 600 hours and
$1,500 clearing his or her name. This is unfair, and MaryPIRG is
working to put consumers back in control of their personal
financial information, to deter financial institutions from
reckless business practices, and to give victims of identity theft
recourse to clear their records.