Identity theft is a serious crime.
It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity theft costs you time, money, your credit and our reputation.
Don’t be a victim. Learn what you can do to avoid this crime.
Do You Recognize the Most Common Methods of Identity Theft?
1. Dumpster Diving
2. Skimming your credit card number when processing the card
3. Phishing by pretending to be your bank or creditor and asking for personal info
4. Changing your address to steal your mail
5. Old-Fashioned Theft by stealing your wallet, statements, checks or tax info
Alert! Warning Signs
Looks for these signs that require immediate attention:
Bills that do not arrive as expected
Unexpected credit cards or account statements
Denials of credit for no apparent reasons
Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
How To Deter Identity Thieves
Shred paperwork with your personal info
Don’t carry your SSN Card in your wallet, or list the number on your checks or other ID.
Never give out personal info on the phone, mail or Internet unless you are sure who is receiving it.
Review you computer procedures. Never click links in unsolicited emails. Update your firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software.
Don’t use obvious passwords like birth dates, mother’s maiden names or the last four digits of your SSN.
Secure your personal information at home, especially when you have workers in your home.
Defending Against Identity Theft
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft:
Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports. Contact one of the credit reporting companies. This entitles you to a free copy of your credit report to review and investigate the unusual activity.
Close any accounts that are affected by the theft, by calling the fraud departments of those creditors.
File a police report in case creditors later question the fact of a crime.
Report the theft to the FTC in order to help officials across the country with their investigations.
Keep copies of all documents and records of your conversations regarding the theft.
This information is provided by The Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center. For more information, visit ftc.gov/idtheft, and OnGuardOnline.gov.
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