It was just a few months back that the United State Government led by the Justice Department instituted a nationwide sweep in order to clamp down on identity fraud. Little coincidence that it was conducted as tax time gets going. This time of year has been a boon to fraudsters in years past.

While it may or may not sharply reduce the amount of information stolen the effort needs to be a year round one. Identity theft at present is simply not going away. It continues to top the list as the number one complaint by consumers. But it is not all gloom and doom. Statistics demonstrate the fact that it is trending downward. People also feel that financial institutions are doing a better job of monitoring it than ever before.

The mistake too many folks make however is believing that these same institutions will automatically protect you against the threat as well as fix it instantly if anything should occur. Sorry to say it still takes a considerable amount of time and effort on the individual's part in order to get back your identity. Consider also that in many instances the identity thief is never brought to justice. According to the Gartner Group the figure is something like one in seven hundred.

This is why it is crucial that you take a proactive process to guard against identity theft.

1. Be Aware Of Who May Be Around You

The majority of identity theft still happens offline. Maybe someone is paying a little to much attention to your phone call where you are discussing some highly sensitive information or someone sitting behind you at the local café who is monitoring your activities are just a few examples. This does not mean you must be paranoid to the point you never venture out of the house. But you should have a strong sense of what is going on within your immediate environment.

2. Family And Friends

Speaking of being aware as to exactly who is around you. The majority of identity theft takes place when the victim knows the person who did it. Relatives, close friends and neighbors top the list and among these three the number one culprit is a family member. For one they make a calculated guess that your suspicions will never point towards them and for another even if you do catch them they figure the chances are you will not press the issue. In other words you may get upset but there is no way you will call the police and have them arrested. On this they are counting on.

It makes sense that you do not want to cross that bridge so don't put yourself in that position. No matter who it is do not let them have access to your personal information. If someone comes to your house make sure anything of a sensitive nature is tucked away in a secure place.

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