Identity theft means a fraud was committed or attempted using identifying information of another person without authority. Thieves steal your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, Social Security Number, or other confidential information to use your financial accounts or run up bills on your credit cards. They can take out loans, obtain credit cards and even get a driver's license in your name. They can do damage to your financial history and personal reputation that can take years to unravel.
How to Fight Identity Theft
- Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords over the phone or the Internet, if you did not initiate the contact.
- Never click on the link provided in an e-mail you think is fraudulent. In addition to stealing your personal information, the link may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, go to the company's website by typing in the site address or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of using a link provided by the email.
- If you fall victim to identity theft, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.
- Learn more about how to keep your banking activity safe.
What to Do If You Are a Victim
- Contact us immediately to alert us of the situation.
- Close accounts you think have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Phone the security or fraud department of each associated company or financial institution. Follow-up in writing and supply copies of supporting documents.
- Notify credit card companies and financial institutions in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document when and what the company received. Keep copies of your correspondence or enclosures.
- Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet here, or by phoning 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).
- Check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number, or check www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General.
- File a report with local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the police report or the report number. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report.
- Contact one of the major credit bureaus listed below to place a fraud alert on your file. A fraud alert will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
To learn more about keeping your money safe, visit MyMoney.gov.