Identity Theft

How to prevent it

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a term used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.

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Ways to protect your identity

  • Guard your financial information. Only disclose your credit card or bank account number when you’re paying for something with it.
  • Keep your Social Security number confidential. Don’t give it to anyone unless you’re sure who it is and why they need it.
  • Beware of imposters. Be suspicious if you get a call or e-mail from someone claiming to be from a company you do business with, asking for information they should already have on file.
  • Keep your mail safe. Collect it promptly from your mailbox and ask the Post Office to hold it while you’re away.
  • Get off credit marketing lists. Mailings for pre-approved offers of credit are a gold mine for identity thieves, who steal them and apply for credit.
  • Lock it up. Keep your personal information locked up at home, at work, at school and elsewhere so that no one else will have easy access to it. Don’t leave PIN numbers or passwords in your wallet or on your desk.
  • Stay safe online. Don’t send sensitive information such as credit card numbers by e-mail.
  • Check your credit reports regularly.

What to do if your identity is stolen

Step One, you should place an initial fraud alert. Three nationwide credit reporting companies are keeping record of your credit history. If you think someone has stolen your identity, call one of the companies. Ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You must be able to show them that you are you. The company you call must tell the other companies about your alert.
Step Two, You need to order your credit reports. After you place an initial fraud alert, the credit reporting company should explain how you can get a copy of your credit reports.
Step Three, You create and identity theft report. You can use the report to:
  • Get fraudulent taken off of your credit report
  • Get info from companies about accounts the thief opened
  • Stop a company from collecting debt that are caused from identity theft. It can also stop them from selling the debt to another

    company for collection