Beware of Identity Theft

Tips to avoid identity theft and steps if you're a victim

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft can happen to any person at any time.  Identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, social security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.”  You just have to be careful and keep your information private. Below there are tips to avoid identity theft and what to do if you are a victim of it.
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Tips to Avoiding Identity Theft

1. Review monthly statements from bank accounts to try and catch errors 2. Shred all bank statemnts, applications for credit cards, credit reports, or anything with your personal information on it. 3. Secure your personal information. Keep your Social Security card, birth certificate, and any documents with personal information on it at home in a locked filing cabinet. Do not carry it on you. 4. Pick up new checks at the bank. When ordering new checks do not have them be mailed to you. 5. Pay close attention to your credit. Have alerts sent to your email when there are extreme changes in your credit score.
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What to do if you are a Victim

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report.  2. Request a credit freeze on your credit report so potential theives cannot access your credit report.  3. Order your credit reports.  4. Create an identity theft report.  5. File a police report.