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Protect Yourself from Public Record Fraud

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By Tiffany Brewington - Editor
Record Information Services
July 2007

Can you imaging having an officer appear at your front door to deliver you a warrant for a crime you never committed?

Incidents like these happen every day due to the ease at which personal information can be collected by cunning individuals. By taking extra security steps while performing transactions and disclosing personal info., you can help yourself avoid the hassle and headaches of being an identify theft victim.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.* Thieves are able to utilize another person's identify to their benefit in several ways. A few include applying for loans, credit cards, and checking accounts, opening utility accounts in your name, misuse of e-mail and purchasing products online, and getting police and court records in your name.

It's not surprising that it is pretty simple to obtain personal information from individuals. Methods such as dumpster diving and mail stealing expose criminals to personal information on credit card statements and offers, utility bills, and more that contain addresses and account numbers. Shredding all papers that include sensitive information is a good idea to help prevent disclosing your information.

Web analytics tools make it easier than ever for brick-and-click companies to gather detailed information about the behavior of online visitors, through the forms of surveys, contests, blogs, signing up for newsletters and other data collected through websites. Being selective with how your share your information can be a good preventative step in protecting your personal information. It is also a good idea to use hard-to-remember passwords that vary on your accounts so a thief may not have access to all your data should he/she obtain one of your passwords.

Public record fraud in particular can have a significant threat to a person's ability to apply for jobs, purchase a home, obtain new loans, and apply for new credit. Information incorrectly filed on a mortgage can affect the owner's ability to sell their home by delaying the selling process and having to dispute the incorrect information, while a misfiled bankruptcy can make it difficult to purchase a new car or apply for credit cards. In the worst case scenario, thieves may give your personal information to an officer during an arrest, which could leave you with a false criminal record that lingers for up to 7 years…

The good news is that you can take a proactive approach by being careful who you disclose personal information to, shred discarded mail, monitor your credit reports and bank statements, and check your own personal public records in an attempt to identify red flags that may affect your purchasing power, employment, and good name.

Consumers can get a free look at their partial** public record background by visiting Check Illinois at http://consumer.public-record.com and typing in their first and last name. The system will scan through Suspended Licenses, DUIs, Misdemeanors & Felonies, Divorces, Bankruptcies, Mortgages, Foreclosures and more. You can obtain individual copies of the information on the records for only $7.95 per record, which is a small price to pay for the piece of mind that you'll have by verifying what is on public display.

Visit http://consumer.public-record.com today for a FREE Initial Search today.

*Source: http://www.ftc.gov

**The date history of the databases is listed on the main page of http://consumer.public-record.com. Running a background check on Check Illinois will in no way reflect all Illinois public records available, and the information viewed and/or purchased is for informational use only and cannot be used for employment background checks, verifying credit, or any other purpose.