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(KSL News) -- For the fourth year in a row, the FTC named identity theft as their number one consumer complaint.
The growing problem accounted for forty percent of the complaints they received in 2003. On average identity theft victims lost 228 dollars apiece.
Internet fraud is tipping the scale making up more than half of all fraud complaints. It often involves credit cards used on Web sites the buyer is unfamiliar with.
Howard Beales, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection: "People are more willing to give it to somebody they don't know than they would be if somebody came up to them on the street and said, 'Let me have your credit card number.'"
Here's how to protect yourself:
Don't give out your personal information unless it is absolutely necessary.
Keep a close eye on your credit card bills.
Check your credit report at least twice a year.
And shred receipts containing your credit card number.