Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crime segments worldwide, yet the laws in place to prosecute these offenses are scant and rarely enforced. Cullen, assistant managing editor and personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal Online, explains that there are really two broad variations of identity-related crime: identity theft, which is impersonation of someone else to get a job or hide one's own criminal record; and identity fraud, the use of another person's credentials for monetary theft. Getting someone else's personal information is surprisingly easy, but Cullen shows in part 1 how, through simple diligence such as shredding documents and protecting yourself online, you can avoid having to follow the directions in part 2, where she explains how to clear your name should you become a victim. The average identity-theft victim will have to spend 600 hours clearing his or her good name. This is a straightforward guide broken up with interesting sidebars and plenty of charts, in the Wall Street Journal tradition. Siegfried, David
About the Author
TERRI CULLEN is an assistant managing editor and award-winning personal-ﬁnance columnist for The Wall Street Journal
Online. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.