How to identify identity theft.
Criminals are constantly finding new ways to get your personal information and use it for profit. Whether you have received a letter from the IRS informing you that your tax return was rejected because it had already been filed, you have received phone call or letter from a collection agency for an overdue account that you did not open, or you are just concerned that someone may access your personal information, this page is for you.
The first step to protecting your identity is to safeguard your personal information.
* Social Security Number – Do not give out your social security number unless it is absolutely necessary. There are certain situations in which you should provide a social security number, such as providing it to your employer for payroll/tax purposes. However, many times it is requested but not really needed. Don’t hesitate to ask why your social security number is needed, and only provide it if you feel it is a legitimate request.
* Never give out personal or account information in response to a phone call or email. This includes credit card numbers and pin numbers. If a creditor or bank is calling you about an account, they already have the information. If you are told that an account has been compromised, call the phone number on your credit card or statement to verify. DO NOT call the number provided to you by the person on the phone or by email.
* Use strong passwords for online banking/accounts. It can be a pain to remember all of the different passwords you have created for online banking/accounts. But one simple rule will decrease your risk of victimization: Use random combinations of letters (capitalized and not), numbers, and other characters for passwords. Use a different password for each account. Keep a list of them in a secure location so only you have access to them.
* When it is time to clean house, shred old statements and any correspondence that has personal or account information on it. Do not place these items in the trash without shredding them. Some people have nothing better to do than to look through your trash to obtain this information.
* Monitor your credit reports. If you notice anything on your credit report that does not belong, take action immediately. Federal law allows you to receive a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once per year. If you are diligent about tracking when you do this, you can stagger your requests and receive a report of one bureau every four months. Each bureau reports similar information, so you do not need to request all three reports at the same time. You can access your free reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.
My Identity Has Been Stolen, What Should I Do?
If you have reason to believe that your identity has been stolen, contact the Summit Police Department. In most situations, the creditor you are working with will require a police report to be filed before your fraud claim can be resolved. A step by step guide is also provided by the Federal Trade Commission, which can be accessed at the link below: