Identity Theft

About Identity Theft
Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them.  This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, take over the victim's financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and phone companies.

How Does Identity Theft Occur?
  • At restaurants, give credit card slips directly to a business employee. Do not leave receipts on counters or tables.
  • Change of address forms can be completed by a thief using your information
  • Credit reports or personal information can be obtained by a thief posing as a landlord or employer
  • If you've been burglarized, personal information can be used by a thief
  • Personal data can be retrieved from your trash cans
  • Personal information can be bought from "inside sources" (internet)
  • Theft of mail (bank/credit card statements; pre-approved credit card applications, etc)
  • Theft of wallet / purse containing your ID, bank or credit cards

What to Do if You Become a Victim

  • Call each of the three credit bureaus' fraud units to report identity theft.  Ask to have a "Fraud Alert/Victim Impact" statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening an account
  • Contact all creditors by phone and in writing to inform them of the problem.
  • Contact the police agency for your area.
  • It's up to you to take measures necessary from becoming further victimized.
  • Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents.
  • Notify the US Postal Inspector if your mail has been stolen or tampered with.
  • Set up a folder and keep detailed history of this crime.

Informational Websites