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Are there laws against identity theft and what is the government doing to stop it?

Yes. In October 1998 Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (918 U.S.C. §1028), Identity Theft is a Federal Crime, which makes it a federal felony to use another person's identification with the intent to commit unlawful activity. Federal agencies such as the Secret Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate suspected violations of this law; the Department of Justice handles prosecutions. More recent federal legislation increases penalties for aggravated identity theft, workplace identity theft, or use of a stolen identity in connection with a terrorist act.

Recently, the federal government's Identity Task Force outlined several pieces of legislation to curtail identity theft. This legislation includes the deletion of personal information on federal documents shown online, as well as protocol for the handling, distribution and procurement of sensitive information.

However, the government can only do so much, and many times, is slow to respond. That's why it's important for you to take proactive steps now to protect you and your family from fraud and identity theft. Know that monitoring your family's personal credit information is one of the best - and most affordable - early detection systems.

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