Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
ID THEFT FORMS
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The following simple actions can help reduce your risk of identity theft:
- Guard your Social Security number. It is the key to your credit report and banking accounts and is the prime target of criminals.
- Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.
- Review your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once a year to check for fraud.
- Do not carry extra credit cards or other important identity documents except when needed.
- Photocopy both sides of your driver’s license and credit cards and keep them in a locked fireproof safe so you have all the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Examine the charges on your credit card statements before paying them. Consider cancelling unused credit card accounts.
- Don’t give your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call.
- Do not mail bill payments and checks from home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and washed clean with chemicals. Mail them from inside a U.S. Post Office.
- Shred all old bank and credit statements as well as “junk mail” credit card offers, before discarding them. Use a crosscut shredder.
- Do not respond to online “phishing”. Bank and credit card companies will never send you an e-mail asking that you to log in and provide your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, contact your account provider to report the email. If there is an issue with your account, the company will simply ask you to contact them. Be sure you have up-to-date computer anti-virus and firewall protection.
- Monitor your credit report. It contains your Social Security number, present and prior employers, a listing of all account numbers, including those that have been closed, and your overall credit score. After applying for a loan, credit card, rental or anything else that requires a credit report, request that your Social Security number on the application be truncated or completely obliterated and your original credit report be shredded before your eyes or returned to you once a decision has been made. A lender or rental manager needs to retain only your name and credit score to justify a decision.
- Request a credit report every quarter from one of the credit bureaus. You can get one free from each bureau every year.
- Close your garage door. An open door can be an open invitation for residential burglary and related identity theft.
- Distribute the " 10 Tips To Help Keep You Protected Against Identity Theft " within your business and neighborhood communities.
- Distribute the " 10 Tips " flyer in Spanish.
If your identity has been stolen:
- Report the theft to the local police department and obtain a police report number. In Scottsdale, call (480) 312-5000.
- Contact your bank and report the theft to their fraud department. Tell them the police report number.
- Equifax – www.equifax.com, (800) 525-6285 and write P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Experian – www.experian.com, (800) 397-3742 and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion – www.transunion.com, (800) 680-7289 and write: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
- Close all accounts that have been tampered with.
- Contact check verification companies:
Telecheck – (800) 710-9898
Certegy, Inc. – (800) 437-5120
International Check Services – (800) 631-9656
- File a complaint with FTC– (877) 438-4338
- To opt-out of credit and insurance offers (either permanently of for five years), call 1 (888) 567-8688 or go to www.optoutprescreen.com
- To stop direct mail and telemarketers, go to www.dmaconsumers.org or send a check or money order for $1 (payable to DMA) and write to: Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512