IDENTITY THEFT & FRAUD

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Fraud

There are many ways identity thieves can steal your personal information - both online and offline.

Ways Identity Theft Can Happen

There are many ways identity thieves can steal your personal information – both online and offline.

  • Dumpster Diving – Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
  • Skimming – Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing – Pretending to be a financial institution, company or government agency and sending emails or text messages asking you to reveal your personal information via an email, text message, phone call or website pop-up message.
  • Hacking – Hacking into your email or other online accounts to access your personal information, or into a company’s database to access its records.
  • “Old-Fashioned” Stealing – Stealing wallets and purses, mail (including bank and credit card statements), pre-approved credit offers and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.

Identity Theft Red Flags

One of the best ways you can protect yourself from identity theft is to be aware of suspicious activity and routinely monitor your financial accounts and billing statements.

Suspicious activities that may require immediate attention are:

  1. Bills do not arrive as expected
  2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements
  3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason
  4. Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
  5. Charges on your financial statement that you don’t recognize

Ways Identity Theft Can Happen

There are many ways identity thieves can steal your personal information – both online and offline.

  • Dumpster Diving – Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
  • Skimming – Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing – Pretending to be a financial institution, company or government agency and sending emails or text messages asking you to reveal your personal information via an email, text message, phone call or website pop-up message.
  • Hacking – Hacking into your email or other online accounts to access your personal information, or into a company’s database to access its records.
  • “Old-Fashioned” Stealing – Stealing wallets and purses, mail (including bank and credit card statements), pre-approved credit offers and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.

Identity Theft Red Flags

One of the best ways you can protect yourself from identity theft is to be aware of suspicious activity and routinely monitor your financial accounts and billing statements.

Suspicious activities that may require immediate attention are:

  1. Bills do not arrive as expected
  2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements
  3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason
  4. Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
  5. Charges on your financial statement that you don’t recognize
Monitor Your Credit Report

Monitor Your Credit Report

Monitoring your credit report along with your financial statements is one of the best ways to help detect identity theft on your accounts.

It includes information on all of your credit accounts, outstanding loans, the balances on your credit cards and loans, as well as your history for paying bills. which makes it easy to spot if somebody has accessed your accounts fraudulently.

The law requires the major nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to give you a free copy of your credit report every 12 months if you ask for it.

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Order a Free Annual Credit Report

Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com

If You Suspect You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

 
  1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit report, and review the reports carefully for all fraudulent activity. The three nationwide credit reporting agencies, EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion, have electronic forms on their website to place an initial 90-day fraud alert or you can call their toll-free number.

  2. Contact each company where an account was opened or charged without your knowledge.
    • Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
    • Use the ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
    • Ask for verification that the disputed account has been dealt with and the fraudulent debts discharged.
    • Keep copies of documents and records of your conversation about the theft.

  3. If you suspect your Social Security Number has also been compromised, report it to the Social Security Administration or your local Social Security office. You can contact them by phone, mail or online at www.ssa.gov.
    • File a police report to help you correct your credit report and deal with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your report helps law enforcement officials across the county in their investigations. You can contact the FTC by phone, mail or online at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

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