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What is Identity Theft?

The Problem of Identity Theft

Some 500,000 to 700,000 Americans a year are at risk of having their identities stolen, according to government and private sector estimates. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to establish credit, borrow money, charge items or even commit crimes in your name.

While the incidence of internet identity theft is growing, fraud experts agree that you still are more likely to become a victim of this federal crime by more traditional means, such as improperly discarding credit card or other financial data. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming an ID theft victim and what to do should you be stung by one of these thieves.

If You Become a Victim

If you find you have become a victim of identity theft, immediately take the following actions:

  • File a police report
  • Contact your banker
  • Notify all of those with whom you have a financial relationship
  • Tag accounts closed due to fraud, "Closed at consumers request"
  • Notify credit bureau fraud units
  • Establish a password for telephone inquiries on credit card accounts
  • Place a fraudulent alert statement on your credit report
  • Request bi-monthly copies of your credit report until your case is resolved (Free to fraud victims)
  • Report check theft to check verification companies
  • Check post office for unauthorized change of address requests
  • Follow-up contacts with letters and keep copies of all correspondence

 

For more information, please visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/