Identity Theft Resources
Identity theft resources
Don't Be A Victim of COVID-19 Scams - NEW!
Scammers are taking advantage of the current state of the world posing as officials or representatives from the IRS, CDC, WHO, and other healthcare groups or academic institutions. Make sure you know who you’re giving your data to before providing any sensitive information.
FinCEN issued an Advisory Notice: “In imposter scams, criminals impersonate organizations such as government agencies, non-profit groups, universities, or charities to offer fraudulent services or otherwise defraud victims. While imposter scams can take multiple forms, the basic methodology involves an actor (1) contacting a target under the false pretense of representing an official organization, and (2) coercing or convincing the target to provide funds or valuable information, engage in behavior that causes the target’s computer to be infected with malware, or spread disinformation.” FinCEN also warns of money mule scams. See full details here.
The FBI has also seen an uptick in fraudulent unemployment claims from stolen identities. They warn to be on the lookout for the following:
- Receiving communications regarding unemployment insurance forms when you have not applied for unemployment benefits
- Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits
- Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance
- Unsolicited inquires related to unemployment benefits
- Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies
They also offer ways to protect yourself. See the article here.
Remember: Officials or representatives will never ask for your social security number, bank account information, nor will they require payment or money transfer of any kind. Use caution in providing your sensitive information to those you do not know.
How identity theft happens
- They steal your mail, especially bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, and tax information.
- They complete a “change of address form” to divert your mail to another location.
- They go “dumpster diving”, rummaging through your trash, or the trash of businesses, for copies of records that typically bear your name, address, telephone number, and even your birth date and social security number.
- In public places, they “shoulder surf”, watching from a nearby location as you punch in your telephone calling card number or credit card number.
- They use personal information you share on the Internet.
- They scam you, often through email, or they go “phishing” by posing as legitimate companies or government agencies you do business with.
How to reduce your risk for identity theft
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at least once a year to personally check for mistakes and fraud before they become a problem. See more details on how to request your credit report below.
- Place strong passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts.
- Secure personal information in your home and at work, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having service work done in your home.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place.
- Only carry essential documents and cards with you.
- Keep other credit cards and personal information in a safe place at home
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you; leave it in a secure place.
- Be cautious when giving out personal information over the phone. Don’t give out personal information on the phone or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact .
- Protect your social security number at all times. Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. Only a few organizations such as motor vehicle departments, tax departments, and welfare departments have the right to require your Social Security number. In addition, employers, banks and other financial institutions that necessitate tax transactions can require your Social Security number, but for all other instances, ask if they will accept an alternative proof of identification.
- Your trash is an identity thief’s treasure. Shred your receipts, credit card offers, expired credit cards, bank statements, returned checks, and any other sensitive information before throwing it away.
- Keep your computer and your stored personal information safe.
- Make sure others are keeping your information safe. Ensure that your employer, landlord, medical care facilities, and anyone else with access to your personal information keeps your records safe. Be sure to read any privacy policies if you must share information with outside entities.
- Enroll in Credit Monitoring Services
- Check with your insurance provided for cybersecurity/identity theft coverage
- Control your Facebook Advertising (https://www.facebook.com/help/769828729705201/) and Privacy Settings (https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?query=Privacy%20Settings).
HOw to request a credit report
It is recommended that you regularly review statements from your accounts and periodically obtain your credit report from one or more of the national credit reporting companies. You may obtain free copy of your credit card report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by mailing an Annual Credit Report Request from (available at www.annualcreditreport.com) to: Annual Credit Report Request Services, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. You may also purchase a copy of your credit report by contacting one or more of the three national credit reporting agencies listed below.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75031
P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
When you receive your credit reports, look them over carefully. Look for accounts you did not open. Look for inquiries from creditors that you did not initiate. And look for personal information, such as home address, that is not accurate. If you see anything you do not understand, call the credit agency at the telephone number at the bottom of the report. If you do find suspicious activity on your credit reports, call your local police or sheriffs office and file a police report to identify theft. Get a copy of the police report (You may need to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear up your records).
what to do if you suspect your identity has been stolen
Detailed steps of what to do if you suspect your identity has been stolen have been outlined by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office in their Identity Theft Repair Kit: https://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/sites/default/files/ID%20Theft%20Repair%20Kit%208-30-16.pdf
Identity theft links
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft – What to Know and What to Do
- Two reporting options:
- Call the hotline 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)
- Report through the website at https://www.identitytheft.gov/
- Consumer Identity Theft Information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
- Two reporting options:
- Report to the Social Security Fraud Line – 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report at https://oig.ssa.gov/