ID Theft Tips
Top 10 Steps You Can Take
- Place a "fraud alert" with one of the three national credit reporting bureaus. This will let any company that checks your credit know your information was stolen — and they should contact you by phone before authorizing new credit. NOTE: The free fraud alerts may not last more than the first 90 days; so you may consider paying for an ongoing "security freeze" service with one of the three reporting bureaus.
- Examine all financial records frequently and carefully.
- Request copies of your credit report from all three main credit-reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Order a free copy of your credit report at http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Safeguard incoming and outgoing mail. If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company and find out why. Put outgoing mail in a secure mailbox.
- Don't give your personal or financial information to anyone unless there is a legitimate need.
- Shred all mail that has identifying information, especially anything with a bar code or account number, such as those on subscription magazines.
- Never carry your social security card. Protect your social security number, driver's license number, credit card number, account number, passwords, PINs and other personal information. Do not keep any of these written down in your purse or wallet or stored in your cell phone.
- Secure financial records and information at home. Keep statements and checks secured, especially when having workers in your home.
- Utilize secure online bill payment and enroll in paperless statements and billing. It eliminates mail and garbage theft, eliminates the need to shred statements, checks and invoices and is good for the environment.
What If It Happens to You?
- Cancel all credit/debit/ATM cards immediately – keep all toll-free numbers, along with account numbers, in a safe place where you can find them easily.
- Contact your bank and notify them.
- File a police report immediately, in the jurisdiction in which your identification was stolen. This shows credit providers you were diligent and it is a first step toward an investigation.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (see contact information below).
Important Contact Information
Federal Trade Commission
Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ or contact the FTC's identity theft hotline at (877) ID THEFT (877) 438-4338.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Social Security Administration Fraud Line: (800) 269-0271
To stop receiving unsolicited credit card offers in the mail:
- Call (888) 5-OPTOUT (888) 567-8688