The BBB and Javelin argued that consumers, in fact, do have control over identity fraud.
"People are not helpless in protecting themselves," said Van Dyke. He suggested the usual -- don't give out personal information, for example -- but also advised consumers to use a personal firewall and keep anti-virus defenses up-to-date. Another helpful tool, he said, was to take advantage of the free credit report issued through the AnnualCreditReport.com site.
"We can stay on top of this," said Steven Cole, the chief executive of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.