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- Identity Theft
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal identifying information like your name, social security number and/or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft?
To limit your chances of being a victim of identity theft you should monitor your bank accounts and bank and credit/charge card statements each month. Checking your credit report on a regular basis and making sure you shred all important papers especially statements that contain identifying information such as accounts number and social security numbers. Never just toss out documents with identifying information on it!
How Do Thieves Steal An Identity?
Identity theft starts with the fraudulent use of your personal information described above. For identity thieves this information is a goldmine. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold your personal information, including rummaging through your trash, stealing credit and debit card numbers utilizing special devices at ATM machines, snatching purses and wallets. Skilled identity thieves will obtain personal information with professional sounding e-mail, text and telephone scams.
What Do They Do With My Stolen Information?
Identity thieves are skilled at using your information to open new credit cards, run-up charges on your existing credit cards, open new utility accounts, etc. They can also access bank accounts, write fraudulent checks and transfer cash from your accounts.
What Should I Do If I Am A VIctim of Identity Theft?
You should first file a police report for your protection. A police report that provides specific details of the identity theft is considered an Identity Theft Report. This information is shared with the three major credit reporting agencies. This report can be used to permanently block further fraudulent information that results from identity theft. We also encourage that you contact your creditors immediately so they can freeze your accounts so identity thieves will no longer have access and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Theft Hotline at 877-ID-THEFT. Additional information regarding identity theft is available on the Federal Trade Commission website.