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Every year approximately 9 million Americans have their identity stolen; who’s protecting your identity and helping you avoid situations like the following (look for tips on checking your credit score after you read this true story)?

According to a report posted by New York Daily news on 6/20/12, the feds charged a nurse, Jaishree Arbuckle-Pierre, 26, with stealing almost 60 King County Hospital employee’s Social Security numbers in an identity theft scheme, selling their personal information for $200 (per name) to Laurel Sobers who supervised a group of 3 fraudsters. The group then proceeded to open credit card accounts in various department stores with the compromised information, and proceeded to purchase over $100,000 worth of merchandise, gift cards, etc.

Secret Service agents began investigating the scheme in 2011, flipping a member of the group, arrested while she was attempting to make a $3,800 purchase at a Connecticut Sears store. Special agent Robert Walsh stated in court papers that Laurel Sobers would direct the fraudulent buyers to go to the store’s service desk and say that they had forgotten their store credit card, or that they wanted to open a new line of credit.

Next, the buyers were paid a percentage of their purchases or were able to keep some of the items. The participating crook would turn over text messages from 26 year old Arbuckle-Pierreā€™s cell phone which was loaded with the Social Security numbers and other personal information about their victims. Fortunately these identity thieves were arrested and charged but it’s certain that their crimes had long lasting effects on their victim’s credit. Unfortunately; this is just one of many incidences of identity theft that takes place in the United States.

It’s important to keep in mind that the criminal actions made by Jaishree Arbuckle-Pierre are a rarity in the nursing fields. Nurse practitioners play an important part in any medical setting, working with patients as much needed specialty and primary health care professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2012), a nurse practitioner’s average annual pay in the U.S. is $91,450 ($43.97/hr).

The bottom 10% in the profession makes $64,100 and the top 10% makes a substantial 6 figure salary of $120,500 annually. Being a nurse practitioner is a rewarding career choice for people who are passionate about helping others.

Identity theft situations like the above are common today with the perpetrators getting better and better at getting your personal information in order to commit fraud and other offenses that include acquiring loans, services and/or credit. It’s important to consider tips on checking your credit score that includes reviewing it at least once a year if you want to reduce your risk of identity theft, protecting your financial future and the security of your family.

Fortunate credit institutions and banks are getting better at catching fraudulent credit card users – by now you’ve probably received calls from your own letting you know when a transaction looks suspicious. There are also programs today that offer complete identity theft protection that will help catch fraud and identity theft when it happens and help you keep your good credit standing.

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