What is it? How do I prevent it?
What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses a consumer's personal identification, credit, or account information. Identity thieves try to obtain personal information such as; name, address and telephone number, social security number, drivers licenses number, birth date, credit card number, and/or bank account number.
How They Do It
- Stealing- Information is taken from purses and wallets, workplaces, tax information, bank or credit card statements, or pre-approved credit cards in the mail.
- Diverting mail- Do a change of address form and have mail sent to a different place
- "Dumpster Diving"- Obtain information by going through trash
- Skimming- Attachment of a device to card processors to steal credit and debit information
- Phishing- Thieves use a form of electronic communication to pose as a company or institution in order to get personal information
- Pretexting- Use false pretenses to obtain information from financial institutions, telephone companies, etc.
- Spyware- Software downloaded on computer that monitors and is able to obtain personal information.
Reduce Your Risk
- Protect Social Security Number
- Protect Financial information (Sign back of credit and debit cards/ "See ID")
- Safe Guard Wallet and Purse (Do NOT carry Social Security Number, Birth Certificate, or Passport. Carry only what you need while out.)
- Verify Source Before Sharing Information
- Be Careful Using the Internet (Use credit card instead of debt, watch for clues that will indicate spyware, make purchases only using a secure site (Lock after URL/ https))
- Keep Usernames and Passwords Safe and Secure
- Treat Trash and Mail Carefully
- Protect Identity (Search name occasionally)
- Check Credit Reports
Keep all documents containing personal information in a safe place where others cannot easily access them.
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report is a report detailing a person's financial history, specifically to their ability to repay borrowed money.
What is on your credit report
- Identifying Information (SS number, Name, Address, Bank Account Information, etc)
- Trade Line- Credit Accounts. Lender report on each account you have with them. They report the type of account, the date you opened the account, credit or loan limit, account balance and payment history.
- Credit Inquires- How inquires appear on credit report. Report you see lists both voluntary and involuntary inquires.
- Public Record and Collection Items- Collect public record information from state and county courts, and information on overdue debt from collection agencies.
Improve or Maintain High Credit Score Tips
- Make loan payments on time and correct amount
- Avoid overextending your credit
- Never ignore overdue bills
- Beware of credit type
- Keep outstanding debt as low as possible
- Limit number of credit applications