Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. While nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim of identity theft, you can minimize your risk, and minimize the damage if a problem develops, by making it more difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information.
- Protect your Social Security number.
- Treat your trash and mail carefully.
- Be on guard when using the Internet.
- Select intricate passwords, changing them regularly.
- Verify sources before sharing information.
- Safeguard your purse and wallet.
- Store identity and banking information in secure locations.
If you become a victim of identity theft
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the situation.
4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
More information about how to prevent or respond to identity theft can be found at these websites.
* www.usdoj.gov, search for “fraud” and click on Identity Theft
Helpful hints about how to protect your passwords can be found here