Identity theft is one of the fastest going crimes in America and it affects millions of people. Identity theft is someone using your personal information without your knowledge or permission for financial benefit. Data breaches help contribute to identity theft and thieves will wait 1-10 years on average to use stolen data.
Most common types of Identity Theft
- Credit card fraud
- Employment/tax-related fraud
- Phone or utilities fraud
- Bank fraud
- Loan or lease fraud
- Government benefits or documents fraud
What to do?
- If you ever become a victim of identity theft, restoring your identity can be a difficult and long process.
- If someone opens a fraudulent account in your name, call that company immediately, speak with their fraud department and explain that someone stole your identity and close the account. If someone accesses your bank account, call the bank and speak with the fraud department.
- Change your passwords, logins, PINs, and cancel any cards as necessary for your accounts immediately.
- Place a fraud alert on one of the credit bureaus. That company is required to tell the other two companies. The credit bureau contact information is listed below.
- Monitor your credit reports. You can receive a free report from each credit bureau every year. It is best to divide this up throughout the year (1 every 4 months). To obtain a copy of your free credit report go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1.877.322.8228
- Report the identity theft to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov
Check out the links below for other resources from the IRS and FBI on identity theft: