Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country.
Identity theft is the unauthorized use of another person's "personal identifying information" to obtain credit, goods, services, money, or property; or commit a felony or misdemeanor. It can not be prevented but you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim.
The following tips can help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
- carry Social Security card
- carry several credit cards
- give personal information over the telephone
- print identification numbers on checks
- answer unsolicited email requests for personal information
- look for financial statements and bills on due dates
- review statements and bills promptly
- when ordering checks, if possible, pick up at bank
- keep personal papers in a safe place
- remove mail promptly from your mailbox
- shred personal mail and information
- stop mail while on vacation
- STOP telemarketing calls by calling the National Do Not Call Registry 1-888-382-1222 http://www.donotcall.gov/
- shop with online merchants that have a secure site (URL, or web site address, should begin with "https). A graphic, such as a lock, should appear in the bottom right corner of your browser bar.
REMOVE your name from marketing lists by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688)
REQUEST credit reports annually from ALL three reporting agencies. NO FEE https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp (877-322-8228)
If You Suspect Identity Theft:
- File a police report and request a copy.
- File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at 877-483-4338
- Close all accounts affected.
- Contact your bank.
- Keep a detailed log of who has been contacted and copies of all correspondence.
- Place fraud alerts on all accounts with one of the following:
The Identity Theft First Aid Kit will guide you through your response and recovery process.
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