Identify theft is on the rise. Criminals, using a variety of methods, steal credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, ATM cards, social security numbers, telephone calling cards, and other key pieces of individuals’ identities. Criminals use this information to impersonate victims, spending as much money as they can in as short a period of time as possible. Victims are left with a damaged reputation, bad credit report, and must spend months or even years trying to regain their financial health.
Steps You Should Take
- Cancel each credit card and get new cards with new account numbers issued for them, if compromised.
- Check your credit record through credit reporting services such as Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax.
- Don’t carry personal information or account numbers in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t give any part of your Social Security or personal account numbers to anyone over the phone.
- Don’t leave mail in your residential mailbox.
- Don’t store any personal information or account numbers on computers with modems.
- Don’t use your Social Security number as your driver’s license.
- If you feel you are a victim of identity theft, file a report with your local law enforcement agency immediately
- Open billing statements promptly and compare them with receipts and expenditures. If there are any mistakes, report them in writing at once.
- Report the loss of ATM cards or account information to your financial institution at once.
- Take ATM, credit card, and other receipts with you, and either save them in a safe place or destroy them.