Identity theft is the act of impersonating another, by means of using the person's information without permission including but not limited to the following:
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Mother's maiden name
- Bank account information
- Credit card information
- Driver's license numbers
Damages caused by identity theft
Identity theft is a serious fraud and criminal activity that causes severe damages to the victim.
Theives often use the victim's personal information to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, apply for auto/student loans or mortgage, rent apartments, commit crime, etc all in the victim's name without their knowledge. The victim can also be arrested due to frauds done by the impersonator under the victim's name.
Few symptoms of identity theft
- You see unauthorized charges on your credit card or bank accounts.
- You are contacted by a collection agency regarding a debt you did not incur.
- You receive bills from a credit account you did not open.
- You are turned down for a job.
- Bank and credit billing statements don't arrive on time.
- You are turned down for a auto/student loan, mortgage, credit card,or other form of credit due to unauthorized debts on your credit report.
- Your credit report shows accounts you did not authorize.
Protecting yourself from identity theft
- Review your credit card statements and bank statements for discrepancies.
- Order and review your credit report from the credit reporting bureaus at least once a year.
- Shred all credit card statements, bank statements, pre-approved credit card offers, and any paper that has your personal information.
- Never leave or throw away credit card receipts in public.
- Do not respond to pre-approved credit card, auto loan or mortage offers from unknown sources.
- Never give personal information over the phone such as social security number or financial information unless you initiated the phone call.
- Do not carry your SSN card with you; leave it in a secure place.
- Do not post personal information on your personal website or on the internet.
- Change passwords frequently and follow good password practices.
What to do if you're a victim of identity theft
It is important to take action right away to minimize future damage.
Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus . Request that a "fraud alert" be placed on your account and that creditors get permission fromyou before opening any new accounts.
Call creditors to let them know the accounts may have been opened fraudulently. If your existing accounts have been accessed, get new cards and account numbers.
File a police report and send a copy to your creditors. This report helps document the crime.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Many companies accept the FTC's ID Theft Affidavit as evidence of possible fraud. Access the affidavit at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .
Keep copies of all the information you collect for future reference.
Reporting identity theft