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Identity theft is the crime of stealing someone's personal information, such as Social Security Number, credit card numbers, driver's license, or other valuable data, to gain access to bank accounts and other finances. Criminals use sophisticated online scams, such as phony emails and websites, designed to trick victims into voluntary revealing sensitive information.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 12 million Americans' identities are stolen annually, and as much as $26 billion is lost by individuals and businesses. Identity theft, unfortunately, is a fact of modern, high-tech life, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.