Ever wish you were somebody else? Well, thieves have been making it happen at a more rapid pace, hijacking the identities of mutual fund customers and other patrons of the financial services industry and reeking havoc at an alarming rate.

The fund industry has had its collective consciousness concentrated squarely on the scandals the last eight months, but identity theft has become the fastest-growing crime in the country, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego-based not-for-profit organization. The crime may quickly place fund firms in an uncomfortable position if they have to notify customers about security breaches and risk a further loss in confidence by the investing public. Some state governments are now requiring firms to alert customers of security breeches.

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