Thieves gain this information from stolen wallets and purses, by going through your trash, stealing your mail, collecting personal information you've shared on the internet, hacking into computer databases and internet fraud.
When someone uses your personal information, such as your name, address or Social Security number, credit card or bank number, to divert your mail, borrow money in your name, or make purchases while representing themselves as you then your identity has been stolen. Thieves gain this information from stolen wallets and purses, by going through your trash, stealing your mail, collecting personal information you've shared on the internet, hacking into computer databases and internet fraud.
Avoid ID theft:
- Place passwords on your credit cards, bank and phone accounts.
- Secure personal information at home; guard your mail and trash from theft.
- Don't carry your Social Security card; give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary.
- Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet UNLESS you've initiated the contact and know the recipient.
- Order an annual free credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228.
If you're a victim of ID theft:
- Close any accounts in question.
- File a police report, and file a complaint with the Attorney General's Assistance Program.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports.
- Keep copies of all papers and police reports relating to the theft, and a record of all related contacts you've made.
- If you believe you are a victim of ID Theft, stop by any branch and ask for a Fraud Specialist to assist you.
It's important to keep an eye on your credit information to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud. The three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Under the FACT Act amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one free Personal Credit Report in a 12-month period. To request this free annual report online, by phone, or mail, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.