Identity Theft

How to protect yourself

Warning signs that identity theft is taking place.

There are many signs that you might be a victim of identity theft. Are there purchases you can't explain or withdrawals that you did not make appearing on statements? Will people not accept your checks? Does medical insurance make you pay extra for coverage due to a disease or injury you never had? These are some of the major signs that you are a victim of identity theft.

What should you do if you are a victim?

The first thing you should do is put out a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will alert companies to further verify your identity. Next you should notify companies that were affected. For example, if your credit card is stolen, contact the credit card companies to tell them what happened. After that, contact the Federal Trade Commission. Then, file a police report. Finally, make sure your social security number is safe.

Identity theft is happening all of the time.

Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States.

How to prevent identity theft

There are many ways to prevent identity theft. Make sure you only carry needed things with you. Don't carry around extra credit cards. Give personal information out over the phone very sparingly. Make sure you closely watch your credit card billing statement details. Don't have new checks sent to you in the mail; instead, pick them up at the bank.

Methods of how thieves get your information.

Thieves will go dumpster diving to find documents you threw away. They will send scams through phone and e-mail and then steal your personal information. Another way they get your information is if they steal your purse or wallet. They could also shoulder surf, which is when someone looks over your shoulder and takes your information such as PIN numbers or your address. Finally, they could steal mail out of your mail boxes.