Identity theft is a serious crime.
It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used
without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. ID
Theft can cost you money and destroy your credit.
Shred financial documents and
paperwork with personal information before you throw them
Protect your Social Security
number. Don't carry it with you, and only give it out if
absolutely necessary, or as to use another form of
Don't give out personal information
over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet
unless you are 100% sure of the person/business you are
dealing with. If you are ever suspicious of a phone call or
text, hang up and call us directly.
Check websites for security
features before entering any of your personal or credit
information, including "https" in front of the website name.
The "s" at the end stands for secure meaning that the
information you type in is encrypted and can not be hacked
E-mail Phishing. Never click on
links in unsolicited emails. Instead, type in the web
address that you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and
anti-virus software to protect your home computer... and
keep them up-to-date.
Don't use an obvious password like
your birth date, mother's maiden name, or the last 4 digits
of your social security or phone number.
Keep your personal information in a
secure place at home, especially if you have roommates or
employ outside help. Also remember this when you are having
work done in your home.
Signs of Identity Theft
Bills do not arrive as expected.
Unexpected credit cards or account
statements arrive at your home.
You are denied credit for no
You receive calls or letters about
purchases that you didn't make.
Check your credit report. The law
now requires the major credit reporting agencies to give you
a free copy of your credit report each year... but only if
you ask for it. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order a
free copy of your credit report once per year. While this
report will not show you your credit score, you will be able
to monitor any accounts you may not have opened.
Review your financial statements
and billing statements regularly. Check for charges that you
may not have made.
What to do if you
suspect Identity Theft?
Place a "fraud alert" on your
credit reports. This alert will tell creditors to follow
certain procedures before they open any new accounts in your
name or make changes to your existing accounts. You can call
any one of the credit reporting agencies to place an initial
90-day fraud alert. Equifax 800-525-6285. Experian
888-397-3742. TransUnion 800-680-7289.
Close any accounts that have been
tampered with or have been established by someone other than
yourself. Call the security or fraud department of each
company, and follow up in writing with copies of supporting
documents. Use the ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft
to support your written statement. Ask for verification the
the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent
debts discharged. KEEP COPIES of all documents and records
of your conversations about the theft.
File a police report. Some
creditors may want proof of the crime.
Report the ID Theft to the
Federal Trade Commission. This report will help
investigators across the country with other investigations.
You can do this online at