Identity Theft Resources

Identity theft resources

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.  

 

Equifax 

P.O. Box 740241 

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 

800-685-1111 

www.equifax.com 

 

Experian 

P.O. Box 9532 

Allen, TX 75031 

888-397-3742 

www.experian.com 

 

TransUnion 

P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790 

800-916-8800 

www.transunion.com 

 

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