Avoid ID Theft Ftc Identity

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Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods
to steal your personal information, including:

1. D
 umpster Diving. They rummage through trash
looking for bills or other paper with your personal
information on it.
2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers

by using a special storage device when processing
your card.
3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial

institutions or companies and send spam or
pop-up messages to get you to reveal your
personal information.
4. Changing Your Address. They divert your billing

statements to another location by completing a
“change of address” form.
5. “Old-Fashioned” Stealing. They steal wallets

and purses; mail, including bank and credit card
statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new
checks or tax information. They steal personnel
records from their employers, or bribe employees
who have access.

To learn more about ID theft and how to deter, detect,
and defend against it, visit ftc.gov/idtheft. Or request
copies of ID theft resources by writing to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130
Washington, DC 20580

F i g h t i n g B ac k A g a i n s t

Identity Theft

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. Identity theft can cost you time
and money. It can destroy your credit and
ruin your good name.

Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring
your financial accounts and billing statements.






Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it.

Be alert to signs that require immediate

Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.



S hred financial documents and paperwork with personal
information before you discard them.


Bills that do not arrive as expected


Unexpected credit cards or account statements


Denials of credit for no apparent reason


Calls or letters about purchases you did not make

Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your
credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you
haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts
on your accounts that you can’t explain.


 rotect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your
Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social
Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely
necessary or ask to use another identifier.


 on’t give out personal information on the phone,
through the mail, or over the Internet unless you
know who you are dealing with.
 ever click on links sent in unsolicited emails;
instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls,
anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect
your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
 on’t use an obvious password like your birth date,
your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits
of your Social Security number.


 eep your personal information in a secure place
at home, especially if you have roommates, employ
outside help, or are having work done in your house.

Y our credit report. Credit reports contain
information about you, including what
accounts you have and your bill paying history.
r T
 he law requires the major nationwide
consumer reporting companies—Equifax,
Experian, and TransUnion—to give you a free
copy of your credit report each year if you
ask for it.
r V
 isit www.AnnualCreditReport.com
or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created
by these three companies, to order your free
credit reports each year. You also can write:
Annual Credit Report Request Service,
P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.


Y our financial statements. Review financial
accounts and billing statements regularly,
looking for charges you did not make.



F ederal T rade C ommission


6 0 0 P enns y l v ania A v e . , N W

W ashin g ton , D C 2 0 5 8 0

 lace a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and
review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors
to follow certain procedures before they open new
accounts in your name or make changes to your existing
accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting
companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial
90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
r E
 quifax: 1-800-525-6285
r E
 xperian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
r TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289


C lose accounts. Close any accounts that have been
tampered with or established fraudulently.
r C
 all the security or fraud departments of each
company where an account was opened or changed
without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies
of supporting documents.
r U
 se the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support
your written statement.
r A
 sk for verification that the disputed account has
been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
r K
 eep copies of documents and records of your
conversations about the theft.
F ile a police report. File a report with law enforcement
officials to help you with creditors who may want proof
of the crime.
 eport the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
Your report helps law enforcement officials across
the country in their investigations.
r Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
r B
 y phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)
or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
r B
 y mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse,
Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

ftc . g o v / idtheft


1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)


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