Personal information can be vulnerable to theft and misuse, with identity theft now one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States.
Identity thieves use a variety of methods to obtain and misuse your personal information, using information such as your birthdate and Social Security number to exploit your existing accounts or open new accounts in your name. Clearing your name of fraudulent charges can take both time and money. Being educated on ways to prevent and handle identity theft should it occur will help you avoid being a victim of this crime.
Thieves use a variety of technologies and methods to obtain your information. Identity thieves may:
- Steal a purse or wallet, personal information from the victim's home, or business information from the workplace.
- Take financial statements, credit card applications, canceled checks, and tax information from mailboxes.
- Divert your mail to a different address.
- Look through your mail for personal data that has been thrown away unshredded.
- Pose as a landlord or employer to obtain your credit report.
- Eavesdrop at ATMs for PINs and card numbers.
- "Phish" for account information via email.
- Record or capture your card numbers and expiration dates while they process your card at a restaurant or retail store. This practice is often called "skimming."
Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit.
File a police report with the local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place. Obtain a copy of the written report as proof for creditors.
Close accounts that are known or believed to be tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Contact MSUFCU to put a hold on stolen checks and Visa Credit and Debit Cards.
Contact the three major credit bureaus to report the fraud. Ask that a fraud alert be placed on your file.
Request a credit report and notify the credit bureau of discrepancies.
Call all of your credit card companies and let them know you are a victim of identity fraud. Request new cards and account numbers.
Contact the U.S. Postal Office if your mail was stolen.
Keep a record of all correspondence with people at credit bureaus, the police, and financial institutions.
To report your Social Security number being used by someone else, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338.