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Protect Your Identity
THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY THEFT
 
Some 500,000 to 700,000 Americans a year are at risk of having their identities stolen according to government and private sector estimates. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to establish credit, borrow money, charge items or even commit crimes in your name.
 
While the incidence of Internet identity theft is growing, fraud experts agree that you still are more likely to become a victim of this federal crime by more traditional means, such as improperly discarding credit card or other financial data. Here are some tips on how to avoid being a victim and what to do should you be stung by one of these thieves.
 
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
 
  • Never respond to unsolicited requests for your social security number (SSN) or financial data.
  • Before discarding, shred credit card, ATM receipts and any pre-approved credit offers you have received,

              but don't plan to use.

  • Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy.
  • Avoid easy to figure out access and personal ID (PIN) codes.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report yearly and check it for accuracy.
  • Use only secure sites when making online purchases. Secure pages begin "https".
  • Pay for online purchases by credit card to assure you get what you paid for and to limit your liability.
  • Safeguard your SSN, and check Earnings and Benefit statements annually for fraudulent activity.

 

IF YOU BECOME A VICTIM

 
If you find you have become a victim of identity theft, immediately take the following actions:
 
  • File a police report.
  • Contact your banker.
  • Notify all of those with whom you have a financial relationship.
  • Tag accounts closed due to fraud, "Closed at consumers request".
  • Establish a password for telephone inquiries on credit card accounts.
  • Place a fraud alert statement on your credit report.
  • Request bi-monthly copies of your credit report until your case is resolved (Free to Fraud Victims).
  • Report check theft to check verification companies.
  • Check post office for unauthorized change of address requests.
  • Follow-up contacts with letters and keep copies of all correspondence.

 

REMAIN ALERT

 

Suspect ID theft if you're denied credit for no apparent reason or if routine financial stop arriving in a timely manner.

 

 

WHERE TO GET HELP

 

CREDIT REPORTING BUREAUS

Equifax:

Report Fraud

Order Credit Report

 

800-525-6285

 800-685-1111 

Experian:

Report Fraud

Order Credit Report

888-397-3742

 888-397-3742 

Trans Union:

Report Fraud

Order Credit Report

 

800-680-7289

800-888-4213

Social Security Administration:

Report Fraud

Order Benefits and Earnings Statements

 

800-269-0271

 800-772-1213 

 
REPORTING FRAUDULENT CHECK USE:
Check Rite800-766-2748
Chexsystems800-428-9623 
CrossCheck707-586-0551 
Equifax800-437-5120 
National Processing Co.800-526-5380 
SCAN800-526-5380 
TeleCheck800-710-9898 
 
 
 
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT AND HOW TO AVOID IT CAN BE FOUND AT: