“Thieves used to pick pockets and snatch handbags. Now they steal identities — thanks in part to computers and the Internet, businesses that allow customer data to float around unprotected, and a drastic increase in financial solicitations by mail. Identity thieves pilfer credit-card information, bank statements, and Social Security numbers so they can steal from existing accounts, open new ones, or even rack up a criminal record under your name.
Can’t happen to you? Consider this: Since 1999 an estimated 27 million Americans have had their financial and nonfinancial identities stolen, with an estimated 9.9 million falling victim in 2002 alone. Here’s how you can protect yourself where you are most vulnerable — mail, phone, ATM, and computer — and avoid becoming the next statistic.”