Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity Theft, Page 2
Tips to Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim
Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose sensitive personal information has been stolen can spend substantial time and money cleaning up the mess criminals have made of their good name and credit record. The
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep records of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
1. Place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports, and add a "victim's statement" to your file requesting that creditors contact you before opening new accounts in your name.
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call and speak to someone in the security or fraud department. Follow up in writing sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
3. File a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report at a police station where the identity theft occurred, and get a copy of the police report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.
4. File a complaint with the Federal
Trade Commission. You can file a complaint online at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/; call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); or write to:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse, FTC
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
How Do ID Thieves Get Your Personal Information?
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of ways to gain access to your personal information. For example, they may:
Remember: Banks will never request confidential account information over the phone or through e-mail.
Has Someone Stolen Your Personal Information?
If you fear that someone has stolen your personal information, here are some indications that identity theft may have occurred:
Precautions You Should Take:
Protect Your Identity with a Free Credit Check
A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles all individuals living in the United States to a free credit report, at their request, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
To order your free annual report from one or all of the national credit bureaus, visit
www.annualcreditreport.com; call toll-free (877)322-8228; or click here (requires Adobe Reader) to print and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348
Note: Do not contact the three nationwide credit bureaus directly; they provide free annual credit reports only through the Annual Credit Report Request Service.
Reporting Fraud to the Credit Bureaus
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening accounts in your name. Contact one of the credit bureaus below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required to forward the information to the other two, which will also place an alert on your report.
To report fraud, call: (800) 525-6285
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To report fraud, call: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
To report fraud, call the Fraud Victum Assistance Division: (800) 680-7289
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
The content on this page appears in the brochure "Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft" (requires Adobe Reader); produced by the Independent Community Bankers of America and distributed for free in the bank's lobby.
For additional help, please visit "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft" (requires Adobe Reader) produced by the Federal Trade Commission.