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Crime and Terrorism
Finding Yourself After Identity Theft



Finding Yourself After Identity Theft
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    phishing, scammers, phony, oneself, masculine, dumpster, fraud, finding, tactic, update, lifelong, acronym, vulnerable, felon, unlawful, financial
     content words:    Social Security, Identity Theft, Assumption Deterrence Act, Federal Bureau, United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, Federal Trade Commission, Internet Service Provider, Be Stingy, Trans Union


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Finding Yourself After Identity Theft
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Finding oneself can be a lifelong process, but it becomes an urgent matter if you have experienced identity theft. Those commercials with a delicate lady talking in a deep voice about her expensive, masculine pursuits are hilarious. The voice belongs to the man who stole her credit card. However, identity theft is no laughing matter. The last thing you need is someone sunbathing on a beach in Hawaii at your expense!
 
2     Identity theft is when people use your name or personal information without your permission for unlawful economic gain. They might steal your Social Security number, your driver's license number, or your credit card number and use them to open new accounts in your name. Then, they make major purchases without your knowledge. You end up with large bills and large headaches! You might not have lots of credit cards and bills now, but as an adult, you most likely will.
 
3     In one famous case of identity theft, a convicted felon used another person's credit card and racked up more than $100,000 of debt. The criminal obtained a home loan and also bought motorcycles and guns using the victim's credit card. Identity theft was not a crime at the time, so the criminal even called up the victim and taunted him. It cost the victim and his wife over $15,000 to restore their credit, and the criminal only served a brief sentence because he made several false statements to buy the guns!
 
4     Finally, because of this case and others like it, Congress made identity theft a federal offense when they passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998. The act of identity theft carries a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a fine. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and United States Postal Inspection Service work with federal prosecutors to solve identity theft cases.

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