HOW TO PREVENT ID THEFT
- Don’t leave mail in your residential mailbox.
- Don’t store personal information or account numbers on computers with modems.
- Don’t carry your Social Security number, other personal information or account numbers in your wallet or purse.
- Take ATM, credit card and other receipts with you, and either save them in a safe place or destroy them.
- Shred documents that could contain personal information.
- Don’t give any part of your Social Security number or personal account numbers over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails.
- Don’t use obvious passwords like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Never put your account number on an envelope or a postcard.
- Keep a record of your credit card numbers, their expiration dates and the telephone numbers of each company for reporting losses.
- Open billing statements promptly and compare them with your receipts. Report any mistakes in writing immediately.
DETECT ID THEFT
- Be alert to signs of suspicious activity, such as:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Bills and other accounts that have purchases you did not make
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
INSPECT YOUR CREDIT REPORT
The law requires the three major national consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to give you a copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
IF YOU SUSPECT IDENTITY THEFT
- File a police report immediately.
- Cancel credit cards and get new cards with new account numbers. (Federal and state law limit your responsibility to the first $50.)
- Report missing cards to the three major credit reporting services.
- Place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports and review them carefully. Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your report. A call to one of the companies is sufficient.
- Call the security or fraud departments of each credit card company where an account was opened or changed without your approval. Follow in writing with copies of supporting documents.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debits discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- Report the loss to your bank. Cancel checking and savings accounts and open new ones. Stop payment on all outstanding checks.
- Get a new ATM card, account number, PIN and online password.
- Call your utilities, including the phone company. Inform them someone may try to get new service using your identification.
- Report a missing driver’s license to the Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles and get a new driver’s license.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission to help law enforcement officials across the country investigate. Contact the FTC at 877-ID-THEFT (438-4338), online at ftc.gov/idtheft, or by mail at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.