What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime where someone steals your personal information, such as your name or social security number, to commit fraud. This information can be used fraudulently to apply for new credit, file taxes, or even obtain medical services.
This can damage your credit status and cost you valuable time and money to restore your good name. Victims of ID theft are often unaware that their identity was stolen until they experience some sort of financial consequence.
How to prevent identity theft
Monitor your accounts daily or weekly.
File your taxes early.
Use secure passwords and two-step verification.
Set up alerts for new credit activity and check reports regularly.
Choose identity-verification questions and answers carefully.
What to do if your wallet/purse/identity is lost or stolen…
Federal Trade Commission
Get more information on identity theft and how to recover from it by visitings the Federal Trade Commission website.
Identity Theft Facts
- Did you know that more than 9.9 million people fall victim to Identity Theft each year? That’s 19 people each minute!
- On average, it costs a victim an estimated $500 and more than 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime.
- Identity Theft ranks among the top 5 consumer complaints as reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- The medical sector has more identity theft than any other industry.
- Withdrawals or charges on accounts are unexplainable.
- You aren’t receiving your bills or other mail.
- Debt collectors call about debts that are not yours.
- Unfamiliar charges on your credit report.
- IRS notifies you that you have more than one tax return filed in your name.
If You Think You’ve Been A Victim of Identity Theft
Contact the companies where you know fraud occurred.
- Talk to the fraud department and explain that someone stole your identity.
- Ask them to close or freeze the accounts and remove any bogus charges.
- Obtain a letter from the business confirming you are not liable for any fraudulent accounts or charges and it was removed from your credit report. Keep for your records.
- Change logins, passwords, and PINs for your accounts.
Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports.
- To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two.
– Experian.com/fraudalert – 1.888.397.3742
– TransUnion.com/fraud – 1.800.680.7289
– Equifax.com/Credit Report Assistance – 1.888.766.0008
- Get your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1.877.322.8228
- Review the reports and make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize so they can be corrected.
Other Possible Steps
- Call your credit union to report your debit card as stolen
- Call your credit card issuers to report your cards as stolen
- File a police report
- Make a list of everything that was in your wallet
- Initiate a fraud alert on your credit report
- Replace your driver’s license and Government issued IDs
- Report your Social Security number stolen
- Get a new wallet
Additional Accounts to Watch
- Utility companies
- Government benefits
- Checking Accounts
- Student Loans
- Apartment or House Rentals
- Investment Accounts