• SECURITY CENTER
Identity theft happens when a person uses your name, Social Security number (SSN), or some other personal, financial, or medical information
without your permission to commit fraud and/or other crimes. Online threats like phishing, malware, or hacking may also lead to identity theft.
If your personal information is lost, stolen, or compromised, you can reduce the potential damage from identity theft.
Protect Your Identity
- Do not give out personal or account information over the phone, by mail, emails or through the Internet unless you initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your SSN, or requests to verify your financial information.
- Secure your personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having service work done in your home.
- Guard your mail and trash from theft. Before discarding, shred all documents containing personal information. (Receipts, statements, etc.)
- Check all credit card and bank statements monthly for accuracy.
- Never open an email or click on the link provided in an email if you think it is fraudulent or is a request for personal information. Internet pages and email links may look like the official site. Call the institution or type in the site address you are familiar with instead of using the link provided in the email.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report yearly and check it for accuracy. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report annually from the three major credit bureaus.
- Report suspicious emails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission at:(877) IDTHEFT (438-4338)
If you Become a Victim:
Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
Contact one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, so they can put a fraud alert on your credit report:
The one company you call is required to contact the others to place fraud alerts on your file.
- Equifax: (800) 525-6285
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
A fraud alert may make it more difficult for an identity thief to open any accounts in your name. The alert is maintained on your credit report
for at least 90 days. After you create an Identity Theft Report, you may request an extended alert on your file.
Review Your Credit Reports
After you place a fraud alert on your credit reports, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies.
Read and review the reports; verify that your name, address, SSN, accounts, and other information are correct.
If the report reflects accounts that you did not open or debts that are not yours, contact the credit reporting companies to report the fraud and have
them corrected. You should also contact the security or fraud department of each company where an account was misused or opened without your
consent. Ask the company to send you proof that the problem accounts have been corrected or closed.
Create an Identity Theft Report
An Identity Theft Report will help resolve issues with the credit reporting companies, debt collectors, and businesses that allowed the
identity thief to open new accounts in your name. The Report can help you:
Three steps are required to create an Identity Theft Report:
- Have fraudulent information permanently removed from your credit report
- Prevent a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft or selling the debts to other companies for collection
- Get an extended fraud alert placed on your credit report
Your FTC identity theft affidavit plus your police report create an Identity Theft Report. Send a copy of the Identity Theft Report to each
company where you report fraud. Request that they remove or correct fraudulent information on your accounts.
- File an identity theft complaint with the FTC.
Phone: (877) 438-4338
- When you file your complaint with the FTC, obtain a copy of the FTC affidavit that shows the details of your complaint. The online
complaint site describes how you can print your completed affidavit. If your complaint is filed by phone, ask the counselor how to get a
copy of your affidavit.
- Take your completed FTC identity theft affidavit to your local police, or to the police where the theft occurred, and file a
police report. Obtain a copy of the police report or the report number.
To learn more about how to protect your personal information and respond to identity theft go to