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Identity Theft

Identity theft is a type of fraud where someone uses your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number, to open accounts or initiate transactions using your name, without your permission.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including: Dumpster Diving, Skimming, Phishing, Changing Your Physical Mailing Address and “Old-Fashioned” Stealing.

Being proactive by learning the signs of identity theft can help you and your loved ones. It can be hard to notice that you were a victim of identity theft until you review your credit reports or financial statements and see accounts or charges you didn’t authorize.

Take advantage of your right to obtain a free copy of your credit report. Visit the Annual Credit Report website for more information and if you see anything out of the ordinary, take action immediately.

If you become a victim of identity theft:

  • Contact your bank and credit card companies immediately, and alert them to the situation.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file. This will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name:
    Equifax | 1-800-525-6285
    Experian | 1-888-397-3742
    TransUnion | 1-800-680-7289
  • Close any accounts that were accessed or opened illegally.
  • File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
  • Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

To prevent Identity Theft, it’s important to understand identity theft and to take steps to protect yourself. Below are warning signs and tips on how to prevent identity theft.


  • Accounts on your credit reports that you didn’t open
  • Bills that you used to get are no longer delivered to you
  • Credit inquiries from companies you’ve never contacted
  • Inaccurate balances showing on your accounts in your credit reports
  • Incorrect personal information on your credit reports
  • Unauthorized withdrawal from your bank account


  • Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card or unused credits cards at home in a safe and secure location.
  • Don’t write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
  • Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
    • Limit the credit offers you receive.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Instead, use an internet browser to type in a web address you know.
  • Shred account statements, or documents containing personal or financial information, before discarding.
  • Sign up for electronic statements and try to limit paper statements.
  • Remove your name from marketing lists.
  • Review your credit report at least once a year, looking for suspicious or unknown transactions.

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