Identity theft has become an epidemic in Rhode Island and across the United States, claiming over 11.6 million victims in 2011 alone. It's also one of the most costly crimes to consumers and businesses, and is the fastest growing white collar crime in America according to the Federal Trade Commission.
As the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, I am greatly concerned about the widespread ramifications of identity theft. Securing identities is essential to not only protect consumers from financial loss and shore up the world's finest financial system, but also to secure our homeland from criminals and terrorists.
Rhode Islanders should be vigilant to protect themselves and our community from the dangers caused by identity thieves. If you become a victim of ID theft, please contact my Rhode Island office for personal assistance or visit the Federal Trade Commission identity theft website for advice on how to secure your personal data as well as what to do if your identity is stolen. As part of my work in Congress, I am proud to have had a provision from my Foster Youth Financial Security Act passed into law; it requires states to provide youth age 16 or older with a free copy of any consumer credit report pertaining to them until they are discharged from care.
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information. You can also take their tests to learn how to avoid becoming a victim of phishing, spam, spyware and other online scams.
More information about common fraud tactics is available on my consumer protection page.