Theft of Identity: How Do I Protect Myself?

Get information and post information on theft of identity issues.
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Theft of Identity: How Do I Protect Myself?

Postby Administrator » Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:43 pm

What can consumers do to protect themselves from ID theft and credit card fraud?

Here is a short list:

*** Check your credit reports at least twice a year and look for discrepancies and dispute them to the credit reporting agencies and the furnisher of the erroneous information;

*** Never provide your social security number in questionable circumstances;

*** Do not list your social security number on your checks;

*** Do not permit any retailer to write your social security number or credit card numbers on the face of your check;

*** Avoid using credit card numbers on insecure web sites or store-front sites;

*** Write “CHECK ID” on the back of your credit cards in lieu of signing them;

*** Never respond to emails soliciting your bank routing data or personal identifiers;

*** When in doubt, look up the company in the phone book and call the company soliciting your information and ask questions;

*** Use a secure mailbox facility if mail theft is common in your neighborhood;

*** Immediately report missing or stolen credit cards to the creditors;

*** Keep a list of your card numbers, creditors’ names, addresses and phone numbers;

*** Do not share your bank routing number information;

*** Do not write your PIN number down.

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Thu Nov 03, 2005 8:04 pm

What should I do if I become a victim of identity theft?

Taking quick action can help overcome some of the difficulties caused by identity theft.
Here are the steps to take immediately should you become a victim:

• Contact the fraud division of the three credit reporting agencies to let them know you have been a victim of identity theft.
o Equifax: 800-525-6285
o Experian: 888-397-3742
o Trans Union: 800-680-7289

You may request they place a "fraud alert" on your file. This alert may warn lenders to be especially careful in authenticating identity of anyone claiming to be you. It will mean that you cannot open instant credit, for example, at a retail store. But that is a minor inconvenience in light of the damage identity theft can do.

• File a report with your local police department and make sure to get a copy.

• Contact each credit grantor who has allowed a fraudulent account and tell them you did not open that account. Have them close these accounts. If you open new accounts, make sure to place a password on the account.

• Call the Identity Theft Toll-Free Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). This is the central point of contact within the federal government for reporting incidents of identity theft.

• Document all these contacts with dates, names and phone numbers for your records.

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