Identity Theft

Identity (ID) theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud.

The identity thief may use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name.

Prevent Identity Theft

Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
  • Don’t share personal information (birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) because someone asks for it.
  • Collect mail every day. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles tooltip. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Use the security features tooltip on your mobile phone.
  • Update sharing and firewall settings tooltip when you’re on a public wi-fi network tooltip. Use a virtual private network (VPN) tooltip, if you use public wi-fi.
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software tooltip on your home computer.
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Review your credit reports tooltip once a year. Be certain that they don’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
  • Freeze your credit files with EquifaxExperianInnovisTransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange for free. Credit freezes prevent someone from applying for and getting approval for a credit account or utility services in your name.

Report Identity Theft

Report identity (ID) theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft happens when someone uses your name, Social Security number, insurance plan number, or other personal information to get:

  • Medical care
  • Medication
  • Access to your medical records
  • Coverage under your name from your insurance company or Medicare

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