Identity Protection & Theft Prevention
Identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone uses personally identifiable information, such as an individuals name, Social Security number, or credit card number without permission for personal gain.
- Destroy Private Information - Shred old or unwanted documents that contain private financial information such as credit card statement and solicitations.
- Safeguard Social Security Numbers - Do not carry a social security card or any other card that has a social security number on it.
- Safeguard Credit Cards - Actively watch credit card statements for irregular purchases. Recognize merchants, locations and purchases listed before payinng the bill. Consider closing credit card accounts that are not in use.
- Secure Mail - Empty mailboxes frequently, keep them locked or obtain a post office box to safeguard financial information sent via mail. Mail bills at the Post Office or another secure location.
- Be Aware of Email Scams and Phishing - Do not respond to email or telephone requests for personal information no matter how official the messages or calls appear. If the request appears legitimate, contact the company or organization first to confirm the request before revealing any personal information.
- Do Not Leave a Paper Trail - Never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts in clear view. Shred unneeded documents.
- Monitor Credit Reports - Routinely obtain and review credit reports. An annual credit report may be requested from credit reporting agencies by either going to www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877.322.8228.
If you suspect that may be a victim of identity theft:
- Request a "Fraud Alert" - Contact consumer credit reporting companies to place "fraud alerts" in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft.
Equifax: 1-877-576-5734; www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com/fraud
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
- Contact Creditors - Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each credit company for those accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with.
- Contact Authorities - File a report with the local police department or the police department of the community where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy of the police report to verify the crime with banks, credit card companies, and other parties who may request proof of the theft.
- Keep All Records of the Theft - maintain records of all efforts to clear up fraud, including copies of written correspondence and documentation of telephone calls.
Useful links that relate to identity protection: