What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a federal crime. It occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge of permission for financial or other gain.
While no one is safe from identity theft, there are steps you can take to lower your risks.
How can I help protect myself from identity theft?
- Be aware of current scams to check these you can go to consumer.ftc.gov and click “scam alerts” or for internet scam updates go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center ic3.gov and click on “alerts”
- Don’t reply to texts or emails asking for your personal information or giving you a link to give personal information.
- Never send money or account information in reply to notices that you won a prize or lottery.
- Safely store you cards when they are not in use.
- Always memorize your PINs. Never write them down on cards or share them with others. Consider changing them on a regular basis.
- Check your card activity and bank account regularly. Look for unfamiliar charges.
- Never give out card information over the phone unless you made the call and know the business is trustworthy.
If you feel you have become a victim of identity theft take the following steps
- Call any business where you know fraud took place. Ask to speak to their fraud department. Say your identity was stolen and ask for your account to be frozen or closed so that no new charges can be made.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to report yourself as a victim of identity theft and to place the initial fraud alert.
- Order a credit report. By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from all three U.S. credit reporting companies. Review your credit and note any unfamiliar transactions or accounts.
- File a complaint with the FTC. You can do this online at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by phone 877-438-4338
- File a report with your local police department. Bring along a copy of your FTC identity theft affidavit, and other proof of identity theft, proof of address and a government issued photo I.D.