Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name and social security number to open bank accounts, credit cards or other fraudulent activity without your permission. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States there are millions of American that have their identity stolen each year. This type of theft stands out from other types of crime because half of the victims of identity theft do not know they have been victimized.
If you feel you have been a victim of Identity Theft:
The Federal Trade Commission website offers consumers or business owners helpful information concerning identity theft. It also has instruction on what to do if you are a victim. Click on the Federal Trade Commission link for further information.
Annual credit report is a central site that allows you to request a free credit report. This link will also show the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. TransUnion also has a direct site. This site helps you to order a credit report and lists contact numbers if you need to put a freeze on your account.
CBC Innovis is also another credit bureau that can assist you. They have a Fraud Alert Department that you can call at 1-877-403-1228 or a Consumer Assistance Department at 1-877-261-7685.
How to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Do not give your personal information out to anyone unless you know who they are.
- Properly destroy financial documents and other paperwork that contain your information.
- Don't use sensitive information as your passwords or obvious passwords like your birth date or the last 4 digits of your social security number.
- Be alert should you not receive your regular credit card statement or other account related statements through the mail.
- Secure your personal information at home from visitors, intruders or roommates.
- Carefully review your account statement each month.