Identity theft is a criminal act in which an individual uses someone else's personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, credit cards etc. for their own financial gain.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in America. People whose identities have been stolen can spend years — and their hard-earned money — cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of their good name. Some victims have lost job opportunities, been refused loans, or even been arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
- They open a new credit card account using your personal information. When they use the credit card, and don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report.
- They call your credit card issuer pretending to be you, and change the mailing address on your credit card account. Then, the impostor runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to a new address, you may not immediately realize there is a problem.
- They open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
- Before revealing personal identifying information, find out how it will be used and if it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information: can you choose to have it kept confidential?
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if bills do not arrive on time.
- Give Social Security number only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
- Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry to what you actually need.
- Order a copy of your credit report from the three credit reporting agencies every year. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized. report any unauthorized activity immediately.
Equifax - 1-800-685-1111 - www.equifax.com
Experian - 1-800-682-7654 - www.experian.com
Trans Union - 1-800-916-8800 - www.transunion.com
- Keep items with personal information in a safe place; shred them up when you don’t need them anymore. Make sure charge receipts, copies of credit card applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, and credit offers you get in the mail are disposed appropriately.
Using state-of-the-art fraud prevention systems, our dedicated staff monitors your accounts for fraud and unusual activity and will notify you of any suspicious activity. We follow strict safeguards when mailing out cards and statements, and verify your identity whenever calling in.
To be certain that we reach you quickly, please make sure we have your updated contact information.
- File a police report. Get a copy in case your bank, credit card company or insurance company needs proof of the crime.
- Cancel each credit and charge card. Get new cards with new account numbers.
- Call the fraud departments of the major credit reporting agencies.
- • Ask them to put a “fraud alert” on your account and add a “victim’s statement” to your file requesting that creditors contact you before opening new accounts in your name.
- • Ask for copies of your credit reports. Review reports carefully to make sure no additional fraudulent activity has occurred.
- Report the loss to us, and any other financial institutions if your wallet or purse contained bank account information, including account numbers, debit/ATM cards or checks.
- • Cancel all accounts and open new ones.
- • Stop payment of outstanding checks.
- • Get a new debit/ATM card with a new Personal Identification Number (PIN).
- Report your missing driver’s license to the department of motor vehicles. If your state uses your Social Security number as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute another number.
- Change the locks on your home and car if your keys were taken. Don’t give an identity thief access to even more personal property and information.
File a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline by telephone: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
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