Investor's Business Daily
Last year, the Federal Trade Commissionreported a 35% increase in identity theft,from 161,000 in 2002 to 246,000. It takesmost consumers 6 months or more to discoverthe crime, usually when the creditorsstart calling, and it is a time-consumingtask to reclaim your identity. What canphysician-consumers do to protect themselvesfrom becoming victims? A companycalled Intellius, which specializes in datasearch services, now utilizes the sameinfrastructure for conducting backgroundchecks and people searches to checkwhether personal information is beingused illegally. Intellius.com stores the consumer'spersonal information and thenperforms periodic checks on the Internetand with other sources, such as the SocialSecurity Administration. Identification monitoringcosts $9.95 a month for 3 months,with longer contracts available at $95 for 1year or $180 for 3 years, a savings of 50%over the 3-month subscription price.According to ,however, many consumers feel they shouldnot have to pay for any type of identitytheft protection because credit card companiesshould already provide adequateprotection for consumers. A poll of 5000consumers by the research firm Gartnerfound that 70% were not willing to pay forany identity theft protection services.