1. Protect your Social Security Number and only give it out if necessary after you have verified the person you are giving it to is who they say they are. Do not put your SSN on your driver’s license or on bank checks.
2. Be aware of the trash and mail you throw away by shredding or covering your personal information such as name, address, social security number (SSN), tax id, etc. so they are not readable on charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, credit card offers, and bank statements..
3. Using the internet leaves you vulnerable to online scammers, identity thieves, etc. Be careful when purchasing items online by making sure the site is secure before giving credit card information. Do not sign up for unfamiliar contests as Identity thieves may create phony promotions to capture your personal information.
4. Store personal information and forms such as tax returns, insurance or legal document or other government forms in a secure place at home.
5. Check your credit reports for unauthorized activity by requesting a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months by calling
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1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. This alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert. A call to one company is sufficient:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Expertian: 1-888-397-3742
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2. Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently:
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your approval or knowledge. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit, also called Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged. Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
3. File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime. This report will also help you claim your rights as a victim of identity theft.
4. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-438-4338. This helps law enforcement with their investigations.