Identify theft is the
fastest growing crime in America.
An identity thief
may pick through your trash to capture your personal information.
Tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit
applications, checks and bank statements, expired
credit cards, and
credit offers you get in the mail.
your SSN card; leave it in a secure place.
• Carry only the identification
information and the number of credit and
debit cards that you’ll actually need.
Don’t use your
mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four
of your social security number, or similar series
of numbers as a password
• Pay attention to your
billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bill
doesn’t arrive on time. A missing credit card
bill could mean an identity
thief has taken over your account and changed your
billing address to
cover his tracks.
• Cancel all credit
cards that you have not used in the last six months.
• Be wary of promotional
• Place passwords on
your credit card, bank and phone accounts.
• Secure your mailbox,
thieves search mailboxes for pre-approved credit
offers, bank statements, tax forms, or convenience
• Order your credit
report at least once a year. Reports should be obtained
from all three major sources: Equifax at 800-685-1111;
883-397-3742; or TransUnion at 800-680-4213.
• In writing, correct
all mistakes on your credit report.
to do if you are a Victim of Identity Theft
a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit
This can help prevent an identity thief from opening
additional accounts in
your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms
your fraud alert, the
other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified
to place fraud alerts
on your credit report, and all three reports will
be sent to you free
The bureau numbers to report fraud are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, PO
Box 740241 Atlanta ,GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-397-3742, PO
Box 9532 ,Allen ,TX 75013
PO Box 6790 Fullerton ,CA 92384-6790
any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Keep all copies of correspondence or forms you send.
Follow up in writing
with all contacts you’ve made on the phone
or in person. Use certified
mail, return receipt requested. Write down the name
of anyone you talk
to, what he or she told you, and the date the conversation
the originals of supporting documentation, like police
reports, and letters to
and from creditors; send copies only.
all documentation. Set up a filing system for easy access
a report with your local police or the police in the community
the identity took place. Keep a copy of the report.
You may need it to
validate your claims to creditors. If you can’t
get a copy, at least get
the report number.
• File a complaint with the FTC, visit
http://consumer.gov/ncpw/category/identity-theft-privacy/ or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline: toll free 1-877-438-4338 or write: Identity Theft
Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW ,Washington ,DC 20580 . By sharing your identity theft complaint with
the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law
enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them.