Steps You Can Take to Prevent & Report Identity Theft
Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to take your hard-earned money away from you. These criminals will try many tactics to trick you into giving up your account information or personal information. This can lead to your money and/or identity being stolen, crimes that can cost you valuable time and money.
There are ways for you to protect yourself from becoming a victim of one of these crimes.
- Never give out your Social Security Number, account number or personal information over the phone, through email or in a text message to someone you don’t know or trust.
- Closely track your statements. If there are mistakes or you notice bills aren’t arriving at their normal time, it could mean there’s a problem.
- Shred all mail with your personal information and account information on it.
- Stop your mail if you’ll be going on vacation or going out of town.
- Do not carry your Social Security Card or passport unless you need to.
Reporting Fraud & Identity Theft
If you believe you have been a victim of Identity Theft, there are several steps you’ll need to take.
1.Flag Your Credit Report: You’ll need to get in touch with one of the three national credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—and have them place a fraud alert on your report. By law, each bureau must inform the other two bureaus once an alert is reported. Your fraud alert is in effect for 90 days.
2.Order Copies of Your Credit Report: Requesting a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus allows you to find errors more quickly. If you see any signs of fraud, contact the bureau directly.
3.File an Identity Theft Report: In order to dispute fraudulent charges and information, and to begin the process of getting them removed from your credit report, you need to file an Identity Theft Report. To do this, you’ll need two documents.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Take the FTC complaint to your local police station, or to the police area where the theft occurred, file a police report and get a copy of the police report.