Resources to Protect Against Identity Theft

Volume: 33 Issue: 5


About the Author: David Godfrey is a Senior Attorney at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging.

A few months ago, I received a bill on a credit card that I had not used in months. Someone had used it to order $129 in pay-per-view services. I had become a victim of identity theft, one of the fastest growing consumer crimes.

I was lucky in that I knew how to respond. I phoned the credit card company immediately. In addition, the theft had been limited to one credit card. Thieves can just as easily steal multiple credit accounts and then open new accounts in the victim’s name.

Identity theft has become so ubiquitous that it is critical for all of us to know how to protect against it and how to respond when it happens. To help consumers, the Federal Trade Commission has posted several new resources on how to spot identity theft and what victims should do.

Taking Charge: What to Do If Your Identity Is Stolen is a handbook with tips about protecting your information. It includes instructions, sample forms, and letters to help recover from theft.

Safeguarding Your Child’s Future is a guide to help parents and guardians protect a child’s information and repair damage caused by theft.

Identity Theft: What To Know, What To Do is a brochure covering the basics: how to avoid and respond to identity theft.

All of these resources are available in English and Spanish. They are free and available online.

You may also order print copies, free of charge, from the Web site. These are good resources for outreach organizations and to have on offer in your client waiting areas.


Search Bifocal

Portions of the Bifocal archive are available for online search. Use a keyword or other characteristics to search: complete issue PDFs beginning with the Winter 2001 issue (Vol. 22, No. 2), or individual articles in html format beginning with the August 2012 issue (Vol. 33, No. 1).


About Bifocal

Bifocal, the Commission on Law and Aging's bi-monthly journal, provides timely, valuable legal resources pertaining to older persons, generated through the joint efforts of public and private bar groups and the aging network.



The Commission distributes Bifocal for free six times a year to elder bar section and committee members, legal services providers, elder law and other private practitioners, judges, court staff, elder advocates, policymakers, law schools, elder law clinics, law libraries, and other professionals in the law and aging network.

    Subscribe to Bifocal using the Subscription and Discussion Lists form available on the Commission's Contact Us page.



Bifocal invites the submission of news about your elder bar section’s activities, as well as brief articles of interest to elder law and other professionals in the aging advocacy network.

    Share news about your entity’s initiatives towards the delivery of direct legal assistance to older persons in your particular area; pro bono and reduced fee programs; community legal education programs; multi-disciplinary partnerships; and new resources that are helpful to professionals and consumers.

    Also welcome are substantive law articles on legal issues of interest to state area agencies on aging, bar association entities, private attorneys, legal services projects, law schools, and others in the law and aging network.

    Bifocal is published bi-monthly. Email the Commission for manuscript guidelines and deadline information for upcoming issues.


Bifocal Archive

Older issues of Bifocal are archived here.