Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation; and it can take time, money, and patience to resolve.
The following information is provided to help you reduce the risk of identity theft happening to you and guide you in repairing the damage that identity theft can cause:
- Identity Theft Resource Guide [PDF]
- How to Protect Your Identity
- What to do Before Calling the Police
- How to Report Identity Theft
- Opt Out Options
- Additional Resources
If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity,
acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage.
- Be watchful of "shoulder-surfers." At ATMs and registers, thieves will stand close enough to see PIN numbers punched in by users.
- Mind your credit card receipts, especially since only a few credit card receipts have stopped listing full account numbers and expiration dates. Put the charge slip copies in a safe spot until your credit card bills arrive.
- Buy a shredder and use it. Shred any unneeded documents that contain identity-related information: credit card receipts (after you've reconciled your bill), old bank statements, medical statements, everyday bills, and pre-approved credit card offers. Any document that has personal financial information on it can give an identity thief a foothold into your life.
- Write clearly on all credit applications. Consistently and completely fill in all credit and loan applications using your full name. Every bill that comes to your house should be addressed exactly the same.
- Limit the number of credit cards you carry. The fewer cards you have, the easier it is to track them.
- Get a credit report at least once a year and clean up any errors. Look for personal information and credit accounts that are not yours since credit bureaus sometimes make mistakes.
- Avoid leaving paid bills in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up. Drop them off at a post office box.
- If you're moving, contact all your creditors and update them of your address changes immediately. You don't want credit information and new credit cards being delivered to the wrong address. Likewise, if your credit card expires and you don't receive a new one, call your creditor immediately.
- Never carry your Social Security number in your wallet.
- Don't provide your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number to anyone who contacts you through telephone solicitation.
- Obtain any documents that show you are the victim of identity theft
- If you are a victim of check fraud, obtain the original check
- Notify the three major credit agencies
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
|| CONTACT INFO
P.O. Box 740241
P.O. Box 1017
Fraud Victim Assistance Division,
|Federal Trade Commission||
Social Security Administration
Report fraud: 1-800-269-0271
Report fraudulent use of your checks to: TeleCheck at
Call 1-888-567-8688 to opt out of pre-approved credit and marketing lists.