Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.
Identity theft occurs when an imposter armed with a piece or two of your vital personal information, accesses and drains your financial accounts, opens new accounts or applies for loans and credit cards under your name. No one is immune from identity theft and fraud but there are things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming a victim.
- Protect your personal information:
Name, Address, Phone, Mother’s Maiden Name, Date of Birth, PIN numbers, and Social Security Number. Keep account information in a secure place such as a locked file cabinet or drawer. Don’t carry your social security number in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t provide your personal information unless you have to.
Many businesses ask for your social security number. Ask the business why they need the information and how the information will be used once it is provided. If you do not trust the company, check with the better business bureau or go elsewhere.
- Be on guard for telephone, cell phone texting and Internet scams.
Never give your account number over the phone unless YOU initiated the call and are familiar with the business. When making a purchase on the Internet, make sure you are in a secure area. You can tell this because the address will change from http:// to https://. The “s” stands for secure, and a lock or key symbol will appear on the lower corner of the web page. Never respond to e-mail solicitations asking for personal information.
- Annually check your credit report at all three credit-reporting agencies. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
- Send and receive mail in a locked mailbox, or rent one at the post office.
Don’t send or receive mail containing financial information in an unlocked mailbox because people might steal it.
- Review your monthly financial statements closely.
Contact your bank or Credit Card Company if you discover any unauthorized charges.
- Watch what you throw in the trash.
Shred all pre-approved credit card offers, insurance statements, or anything that has your social security number or personal information on it. Shredders are inexpensive and can be found at your local retail store.
- Reduce the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive by calling 1-888-567-8688.
- Keep a record of all your credit card numbers, expiration dates, and phone numbers for each card in a secure place for quick reference in case of loss or theft.
- If you lose your checkbook contact the financial institution immediately.
You will need to close out the account to protect your funds from fraudulent use.
If you become a victim of Identity theft, you will need to do the following:
- Immediately contact your bank:
Close all existing accounts. Open new accounts with new account numbers.
- Immediately contact the three credit reporting agencies:
Contact them by phone and in writing so they can put your files on fraud alert.
Cancel all your cards and request that new accounts be established.
- Immediately contact all other creditors:
Contact them by phone and in writing to inform them of the problem.
Notify all creditors who have opened fraudulent accounts in your name. Tell them it is a case of ID Theft and to shut down those accounts so that it doesn’t continue.
- Immediately contact local law enforcement.
Request copies of all police reports filed.
- Contact Department of Motor Vehicles:
Find out if a new license has been requested or issued in your name.
- KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING!
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
Federal Trade Commission Hotline
Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions
Office of the Attorney General
US Government Website on ID Theft
Credit Reporting Bureaus/Fraud Departments:
P.O. BOX 105069 800-525-6285
Atlanta, GA 30348
(formerly TRW) 800-301-7195
P.O. BOX 9532
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. BOX 679
Fullerton, CA 92634