This book review is part of a series that covers the topic of Identity Theft. Identity theft is the stealing, often via electronic means, of your personal information such as credit card numbers, social security number, bank account information, etc., with the intention of posing as you in order to fraudulently gain benefits. Denise Richardson is the Official Guide to Identity Theft.

Give Me Back My Credit!, by Denise Richardson, is a valuable resource for people interested in Identity Theft, and it is available for purchase through the

There are not that many books available to a mass audience that explain what rights American consumers have when they encounter abusive or exploitative business practices. There have been a few exceptions, and my favorite two were written by America’s leading experts in their field: Evan Hendrick’s Credit Scores and Credit Reports, and Remar Sutton’s guide to car buying, Don’t Get Taken Every Time. But with these very notable exceptions, I have encountered surprisingly few readable books that would help most consumers understand a great deal about their legal rights and how to protect themselves against scams and corporate abuses.

There is a welcome new addition to the field, though, and it comes from a woman who learned much of what she has to tell from her own experiences as the victim of corporate abuse. Denise Richardson, a consumer who has become a prominent on-line consumer journalist and activist, has just published her first book: Give Me Back My Credit, and it’s a book that should be read by consumers, lawyers and policymakers alike. The book is published by Infinity Publishing, and costs $16.95. Ms. Richardson has also started a website,, with further information about her book, a blog, a petition for consumers, and other information.

A large part of Give Me Back My Credit consists of Ms. Richardson’s powerful telling of her own story, which started with a bank making arithmetic errors with her mortgage payments, and ended years later (after many more errors) with her credit record being all but destroyed. Ms. Richardson describes a series of mistakes that had ever widening ripples in her personal and financial life, and her lively and personal writing style makes it a book to which most Americans can relate. It’s easy to feel great empathy for this woman, as one reads about how her world was shaken and damaged by careless errors of big corporations. Even more irritatingly, as she tells her story it becomes clear that the damage to her life was compounded by the corporation's stubborn refusal to acknowledge their errors and the efforts of their lawyers to deny and cover up the mistakes (and, of course, to try to blame her for them). Ms. Richardson traces how she fought back against these abuses, refusing to knuckle under to the various financial, personal and legal pressures that were brought to bear on her.

Give Me Back My Credit is a great deal more than just the story of one person’s experience, though. The book also contains a series of straightforward and very readable explanations for consumers of various laws that protect them. In a series of simply explained but careful inserts, Ms. Richardson walks consumers through the steps they can and should take to protect themselves if they are victimized by similar mistakes by lenders. The book provides contact information for a number of websites and a number of organizations that are devoted to helping protect consumers from various abuses, and should be a useful resource to many consumers who run into similar problems. She advises consumers about how to keep track of and document what happens to them, and presents stark statistics setting forth just how many consumers run afoul of corporate errors that can seriously damage their finances. She also decodes a lot of the legal jargon that consumers may encounter when they’re forced to go to court to protect their rights, explaining in understandable language a lot of the concepts that could trip up unwary consumers.

Sometimes Americans learn more about their legal rights from the true stories of individuals who were put through the wringer than from any other source. Millions of Americans learned more about toxic torts from books such as A Civil Action or movies such as Erin Brockovich than they would ever learn from reading newspapers or watching the evening news. In the same way, Ms. Richardson has responded to the monkey wrench that some lenders and credit reporting agencies through into her life by setting out to understand exactly how and why such mistakes occur, learning how to fix them, and telling her story in an accessible way. Hopefully, other consumers and consumer lawyers will benefit from her hard-learned lessons.

Written by - F. Paul Bland, Staff Attorney at Public Justice
For Jacket blurbs see

Author's Bio: 

This book review is part of a series that covers the topic of Identity Theft. The Official Guide to Identity Theft is Denise Richardson. Denise Richardson is a longtime Consumer Advocate, Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, and Author of the book, Give Me Back My Credit, and co-host of a Blog Talk Radio Network show Spotlight, a program designed to spotlight consumer related financial issues. Richardson is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Board member of the non-profit 501(3) (c) organization Americans Consumer Credit Education Support Services (ACCESS). To find out more information about identity theft, get tips on social networking sites and learn of the latest scams, visit her blog at

Additional Resources on Identity Theft can be found at:

Website Directory for Identity Theft
Articles on Identity Theft
Products for Identity Theft
Discussion Board
Denise Richardson, The Official Guide to Identity Theft