Identity theft occurs when your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, is stolen and used to commit fraud or other crimes in your name. It is a serious crime that can cost you time and money to resolve.
How does Identity Theft Occur?
Thieves use a number of ways to obtain personal information. Dumpster Diving is a method that involves rummaging through trash to steal bills or other papers with your personal information. Skimming is a method used to steal credit/debit card numbers while processing your card. Phishing is a method thieves use by calling and pretending to be your financial institution or other legitimate company in hopes that you’ll provide personal information. They may even divert your bills by changing your address.
How can I minimize my risk?
There are many ways to protect yourself from Identity Theft.
- Never provide personal information over the phone or online. Your financial institution will never ask you for private information, such as your password.
- Protect your social security number. Don’t carry your card in your wallet.
- Be careful with your trash and mail.
- Purchase a shredder and use it to shred all papers with your name, address and any account information.
- Opt Out of Prescreened Credit Offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT
- Monitor your accounts and bank statements for any unauthorized transactions.
- Order your free credit reports each year.
For additional information on how to detect, deter, and defend against Identity Theft visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov. You may also file a complaint with the FTC by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT.