What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.
Identity thieves might:
- Go through trash cans and dumpsters, stealing bills and documents that have sensitive information.
- Work for businesses, medical offices, or government agencies, and steal personal information on the job.
- Misuse the name of a legitimate business, and call or send emails that trick you into revealing personal information.
- Pretend to offer a job, a loan, or an apartment, and ask you to send personal information to “qualify.”
- Steal your wallet, purse, backpack, or mail, and remove your credit cards, driver’s license, passport, health insurance card, and other items that show personal information.
How Can I Protect My Information?
Do you utilize online banking and bill pay options?
Click here for tips on how to make online transactions safe and more secure.
Are you a business owner?
Click here for tips on how to make online banking for your business safe and more secure.
Red Flags of Fraud & Identity Theft
- Mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other account statements
- Mistakes on the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan
- Your regular bills and account statements don’t arrive on time
- Bills or collection notices for products or services you never received
- Calls from debt collectors about debts that don’t belong to you
- A notice from the IRS that someone used your Social Security number
- Mail, email, or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child’s name
- Unwarranted collection notices on your credit report
- Businesses turn down your checks
- You are turned down unexpectedly for a loan or job
If Your Identity is Stolen…
Flag Your Credit Reports
Call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies, and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report. The company you call must contact the other two so they can put fraud alerts on your files. An initial fraud alert is good for 90 days.
Equifax 1 800 525 6285
Experian 1 888 397 3742
TransUnion 1 800 680 7289
Order Your Credit Reports
Each company’s credit report about you is slightly different, so order a report from each company. When you order, you must answer some questions to prove your identity. Read your reports carefully to see if the information is correct. If you see mistakes or signs of fraud, contact the credit reporting company.
Create an Identity Theft Report
An Identity Theft Report can help you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts caused by identity theft, and get information about accounts a thief opened in your name. To create an Identity Theft Report:
- File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Your completed complaint is called an FTC Affidavit.
- Take your FTC Affidavit to your local police, or to the police where the theft occurred, and file a police report. Get a copy of the police report.
The two documents comprise an Identity Theft Report
For more information on Fraud & Identity Theft, please visit the following websites: