click here for more information IDENTITY THEFT: Helpful hints to lower the risk of Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime. Imposters use key pieces of your personal information such as your Social Security and driver's license numbers to obtain funds for their personal gain. Once your information has been stolen, it may take months or years and thousands of dollars to regain your good name and credit record. The process to regain your identity is a long and tedious one.
The following are different types of Identity Theft to be aware of:
- Financial ID Theft
- - This type revolves around your name and Social Security number.
- Criminal ID Theft
- - Your personal information is used by the thief when stopped by law enforcement.
- Identity Cloning
- - An imposter establishes a “new life” using your personal information.
- Business or Commercial Identity Theft
- - Credit cards or checking accounts with the businesses name are used unbeknownst to the business owner.
The best defense against Identity theft is a good offense. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent Identity Theft:
- Do not carry your SSN card.
- Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary.
Ask: Why do you need my SSN?
How will my SSN be used?
How do you protect my SSN from being stolen?
What will happen if I don't give you my SSN?
Some businesses may not provide you with the information you want until they verify your identity. By getting answers to the above questions, you will make an informed decision on whether you want to share your SSN with the business.
- Use a password for your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Use something unusual. Make your passwords fun but definitely something you will remember.
- When going out, only carry the cards that are actually needed.
- Treat your mail and trash carefully. Shred or tear mail that may have personal information inside and deposit your outgoing mail at the post office.
- Periodically review your credit report. This report contains information on where you live, where you work, the credit accounts that you have open, how you pay your bills and whether you have been sued, arrested or filed bankruptcy. By reviewing your credit report, you can verify the account balances and authorized activity.
Identity Theft Resources
Report fraud: 1-800-680-7289
Order a credit report: 1-800-916-8800
E-mail: email@example.com or write
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
Report fraud: 1-800-525-6285
Order a credit report: 1-800-685-111
TDD 1-800-255-0056 or write
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Report fraud: 1-888-397-3742
Order a credit report: 1-888-397-3742
TDD 1-800-255-0056 or write
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013-0949
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Inquire about security procedures at your workplace and other institutions that collect your personal information. Who has access to the information, is it handled securely, how it is disposed of, and is it shared with anyone else. And, ask how your information can be kept confidential.
- Don't give out any personal information unless you initiate contact. Be sure who you are dealing with before releasing any information on the phone, through the mail or on the Internet.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
- Be cautious when responding to promotions. There are many scams that coax you into releasing your personal information.
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