FTC takes action against credit report resellers

Three credit report resellers that caused nearly 2,000 consumers to become the victims of identity theft agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies must now strengthen the security of their procedures and submit to regular audits.

"These cases should send a strong message that companies giving their clients online access to sensitive consumer information must have reasonable procedures to secure it," said David Vladeck, the director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

However, consumers can still take added precautions when it comes to protecting themselves from identity theft. One of the ways they can do this is by checking their credit reports frequently for unauthorized activity and by contacting a credit repair company if they find evidence these transactions may have occurred.

According to recent studies, it is now easier than ever to commit identity theft, as the materials necessary for credit fraud and identity theft can be purchased for $500 and financial information can be found online for as little as $10.