There's a 1-in-4 Chance You'll Be a Victim of Identity Theft - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

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There's a 1-in-4 Chance You'll Be a Victim of Identity Theft

TOLEDO -- Think you're safe from identity theft? Recent studies show you better think again. Your family has a 1-in-4 chance of being targeted. Every day, some 20,000 Americans experience identity theft. That means the odds are closing in on all of us, making it a matter of when, not if, we'll be dealing with this problem.

The Call 11 for Action Problem Solvers have uncovered a new weapon you can use to protect yourself thanks to a company in Ottawa Lake, Michigan, that's ready to help you fight the thieves.

A break-in started the nightmare for victim Joe Bublick. Crooks stole Joe's personal information, and ran up big bills in his name. "It's never really over. It happened to me in 2002, but I'm still finding things, and I have to constantly monitor my credit," Joe says.

He spent countless hours trying to fix the financial mess, doing it all himself. "It's depressing. You get into it, and it doesn't look like there's a way out. You just have to constantly work on it," Joe says.

That's where the guys from Identity Theft Loss Prevention come in. "Victims of identity theft feel[like the] victims of more violent crime -- like rape, assault, battery -- because they don't know where to go, no clue who to call," says CEO Tom Glanville.

Glanville started the company after being victimized himself, and thinks the crooks could target you next. "It's very low tech, is the way it mostly happens," Glanville says.

According to Glanville, computer hackers are on the grow. But good old-fashioned mail theft is still the leading MO. And if you get hit, get ready for trouble. Time off work and lawyer fees to recover from ID theft add up to an average of $93,000. And the process takes an average of 607 hours.

"It's just very difficult to deal with," Glanville says. "You can't deal with it on your own. You physically can't do it." So his company uses everything from the telephone to the Internet to help clear up your life. They'll also help you set up a credit-monitoring system. If the crooks establish an account in your name anywhere in the world, you'll be notified.

Victims like Joe Bublick say the operation is a great new weapon. "With the way the problem is growing, it's gonna be needed a lot in the future," Bublick says.

Identity theft isn't just a financial problem. Glanville's company cleared the name of one victim who was arrested for murder. The real criminal used his name and personal information to avoid police.

Companies are also now offering identity theft insurance that'll help you protect yourself. For as little as $45 a year, you can be covered for everything from lost income to lawyer fees. Check with your local agent for more information.

On the Web:
Visit Identity Theft Loss Prevention's Web site: www.idtlp.com

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