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The Exchange

Why Identity Theft Is On The Rise, And What To Do About It

Ed Dumbill

In recent years, U.S. retailers, including Target and Neiman-Marcus, have been hit by huge data breaches – with hackers gaining access to the personal information of millions of consumers, raising the possibility of fraud and identity theft. The IRS, too, has proven vulnerable, with thieves filing false tax returns, resulting in billions of dollars in potentially fraudulent refunds. In New Hampshire recently, more than 200 medical professionals, mostly doctors, had their social security numbers stolen and used to file false federal tax returns.  We’ll look at why this is happening and explore the debate over what the role of companies, banks, consumers, and the government should be in dealing with the problem.


  • AnnaMaria Andriotis – reporter who covers consumer credit for the Wall Street Journal.
  • Doug Shadel – senior state director of AARP - Washington, and advisor to the Financial Fraud Research Center at the Stanford Center on Longevity. He is in New Hampshire to deliver a keynote address called “Outsmarting the Scam Artists” at AARP New Hampshire’s SCAM JAM on June 24th.


  • Have a passcode for your smartphone - otherwise all your accounts will be readily available in case of theft
  • Lock your mailbox - many identity thefts still use low-tech ways to steal personal information
  • Have your bank alert you in case of odd chargers
  • Go over your credit card purchases regularly
  • Check your credit score every year
  • Be skeptical of products advertised to prevent identity theft
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