Identity Theft

By: Katelyn Poole

Keeping Your Personal Information Secure Online

Be Alert to Impersonators, Safely Dispose of Personal Information, Keep Passwords Private, Don’t Overshare on Social Networking Sites.

Keeping Your Personal Information Secure Offline

Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your information secure from roommates or workers who come into your home.

Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy.

What To Do When Your Identity Has Been Stolen

1- place an initial fraud alert

2- order your credit reports

3- create an identity theft report

4- monitor your progress

Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards

If your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges. Your protection against unauthorized charges depends on the type of card — and when you report the loss. Acting fast limits your liability for charges you didn’t authorize.

Report the loss or theft of your card to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service for such emergencies. Once you report the loss of your ATM or debit card, federal law says you cannot be held liable for unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.

Creating Identity Theft Reports

If you are a victim of identity theft and have created an Identity Theft Report, you may want to place an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit file.

Freezing Your Accounts Vs. Placing A Fraud Alert

  • A freeze generally stops all access to your credit report, while a fraud alert permits creditors to get your report as long as they take steps to verify your identity.
  • The availability of a credit freeze depends on state law or a consumer reporting company’s policies; fraud alerts are federal rights intended for people who believe they are, or who actually have been, identity theft victims.
  • Some states charge a fee for placing or removing a credit freeze, but it’s free to place or remove a fraud alert.