Criminals need credit too…
…so they’re after yours! Identity theft continues to be a popular trend in crime. Repairing your credit and restoring your identifying information after your identity is stolen takes tremendous effort, and the effects can last for years. Protect yourself with these tips:
- Contact the fraud departments of the major credit reporting agencies and ask them to put a fraud alert on the account and add a statement requesting creditors to contact you before opening a new account in your name. In addition, request a copy of your credit report from each agency annually (it’s free).
- Shred any financial or other documents with identifying information you plan to throw away. Many banks and credit unions offer a “shred bin” to their customers, and personal shredders can be purchased almost anywhere office supplies are sold.
- Secure important documents in a safe or locking file box. Password protect your computer and use file encryption if you keep important documents filed electronically.
If a theft occurs…. Accordion Closed
- IMMEDIATELY report the theft of credit, debit cards, checks, driver’s licenses, social security cards, etc. to the police.
- Cancel your credit and charge cards immediately! Request new cards with new account numbers.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-IDTHEFT for assistance from trained counselors in resolving credit related problems.
- If bank accounts are involved, report the loss to each financial institution, cancel existing accounts and open new ones with new account numbers. If necessary, place stop payments on outstanding checks and contact creditors to explain.
- If a driver’s license is involved, contact the state motor vehicle department. If the driver’s license uses a social security number, request a new driver’s license number.
- If you suspect fraud involving your social security number contact the Social Security Administration to determine the accuracy and integrity of your account.
- Social Security Administration (fraud line):
- Change the locks on your house and cars if there is any indication that these have been copied or otherwise compromised.