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The mission of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to protect American consumers. Part of that is reducing the risk of identity theft. At the beginning of last year, there were nearly a quarter of a million reports of fraud related to government documents or benefits.

  • Kelle Slaughter, identity theft program manager at the FTC, said credit card fraud is usually the biggest category of identity theft reported to the FTC but that Covid-19 relief funds caused government benefits fraud to displace this with a major increase in 2020.
  • The number has since dropped to more typical levels, which Slaughter said could be because of the FTC’s partnership with the Department of Labor on consumer information and protections or the end of the government programs for helping Americans in the pandemic.
  • Slaughter said the main ways people can reduce risk are using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, shredding personal financial documents, keeping software updated and having secure internet connections.

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