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Identity Theft Information

If you are a victim to Identity Theft, the information listed below can help.

Identity Theft Information

 

What is identity theft?

Identity theft happens when a criminal gets your personal information and tries to steal money from your accounts, open new credit cards, apply for loans, rent apartments and commit other crimes - all using your identity. Identity theft can damage your credit, leave you with unwanted bills and require a lot of time and frustration to clean up.

 

How do thieves steal an identity?

Identity theft can start when someone gets and misuses your personal information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card number or other financial account information.

The thieves might use a variety of methods to steal your information, including:

  • Skimming: Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special device on ATMs or when processing a purchase
  • Phishing: Pretending to be a financial institution or other company and sending email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information
  • Pretexting: Pretending to be you when they call financial institutions, phone companies and other sources to get additional information
  • Redirecting your mail: Filling out a change-of-address form to have your billing statements sent to an address they choose
  • Old-fashioned stealing: Snatching wallets and purses, mail (including bank and credit card statements), pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information; they can even steal a company's personnel records or enlist employees who have access to your information
  • Dumpster diving: Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it

 

How can I find out if my identity was stolen?

Check your accounts and bank statements each month. Check your credit report at least once a year for transactions and accounts you don't recognize. It is best to check your credit report multiple times a year. Act quickly to limit the damage.

 

What should I do if my identity is stolen?

Notify all your bank and financial companies as soon as you realize your identity has been stolen or an account is at risk. We'll work with you to help correct any unauthorized transactions in your accounts, fix any incorrect information we've sent to the credit reporting agencies and help protect you from any future identity theft or account fraud.

We also urge you to take these steps immediately:

  • Call the fraud departments of all 3 credit reporting agencies. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. This alert tells creditors to call you before they open any new accounts in your name.
  • File a report with your local police. Even if the police can't catch the identity thief, having a police report can help you clear up your credit records later on.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Trained counselors staff the FTC's identity theft hotline toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFTto call the FTC (1-877-438-4338to call FTC). Or you can file a complaint by visiting www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

You can also check out these resources for more tips and information: