IDENTITY THEFT or fraud is the wrongful obtainment and use of someone else's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Many people become victims of identity theft each year, although there are no accurate statistics that can put an exact dollar amount on the cost that Americans suffer financially and emotionally each year. Monetary loss is just one side of identity theft. Victims suffer long-term physical and emotional strain as they seek to restore normalcy to their lives and their credit. According to a report issued in March 2002 by the U.S. General Accounting Office, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States and the world today. Recent statistics show that approximately 700,000 individuals ...

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