Tips to Avoid Identity Theft
Identity theft is a costly crime in which someone uses your personal information (such as your name or Social Security number) in an effort to steal money from your existing accounts, open fraudulent accounts in your name or obtain a loan using your credit history.
- Consistently monitor all accounts and statements
- Review your credit report at least once a year
- Destroy any documents that contain your personal information
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or use your Social Security number on checks, driver's licenses or membership cards
- Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards, checks or other personal information
- Make sure you receive your mail in a secured mailbox
- Read more about protecting yourself from identity theft in the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) overview
What to Do if You Are Victimized
- Contact any one of the three major credit bureaus and ask them to place a 90-day fraud/security alert on your account. This requires companies to contact you for verification prior to extending credit on your account. Placing an alert with any of the credit bureaus will automatically create an alert at all three bureaus, and each will send you a free copy of your credit report within 7-10 days.
- Contact all of your financial institutions and creditors to make them aware of the situation. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or were opened fraudulently.
- Call your local police or sheriff’s department and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or (877) ID-THEFT.
- Follow the helpful advice in our Identity Crisis Action Plan