Identity theft is a very serious crime and can take years to recover from. Identity theft involves someone taking your personal information and using it without your permission. Identity theft can happen in many different ways. Simply by stealing a wallet or purse, going through trash and dumpsters, professional misuse of sensitive information, or enticing you to give your personal information by email or by phone. For a printable brochure click here.
Red Flags of Identity Theft:
- Regular bills and credit card statements not arriving on time
- Mistakes on your bank account or credit card statements
- Collection notices or bills for products or services you never ordered
- Debt collectors calling for debts that do not belong to you
- Businesses denying your check
- Unexpectedly turned down for credit or loan
- Mail or email being received in your minor child’s name
Here are several tips to help reduce your risk of Identity Theft:
- Check your credit report periodically. You have the right to a FREE credit report every year! You can go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
- Pay close attention to your bank and credit card statements for mistakes or odd transactions
- Shred all your paperwork that may have any financial or personal information on it
- Never give personal information via email, text, or by phone messages if possible
- Use creative passwords and do not use the same password for multiple logins
- Online shop or enter personal information on secure websites. Look for the “Https”
- Use and update anti-virus software on your computer
- If you are using a public wireless network, don’t send personal information
If you have your identity stolen:
STEP 1 -Call Credit Agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit. Equifax 1-800-525-6285 Experian 1-888-397-3742 TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
STEP 2 –Order your credit reports from the credit agencies. Look over your credit reports and turn in any mistakes or discrepancies immediately.
STEP 3 –Report Identity Theft with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Then take the FTC affidavit to your local police department and file a report. Retain a copy of the police report for your records with the FTC Affadavit.