Try to protect yourself from identity theft

Thursday, 22 May 2003, 11:23 AM EST

Recent news events have shed light on how easy it is for hackers to steal our identities and ruin our financial lives. Recently, federal authorities reported that they had cracked a ring responsible for the largest case of identity theft in U.S. history.

With a few keystrokes, 30,000 people's identities, bank accounts and credit profiles were ravaged, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said in a recent news release provided by the Louisiana Sheriffs Association. Criminal charges have been brought against a software company employee for theft of access codes and passwords.

While it is impossible to prevent identity theft, consumers can do things to minimize the chances of being victimized, experts say.

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