Identity Theft- can happen to anyone!
Reporting Identity Theft
go to www.idtheft.gov and report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Or, you can call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. That website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect and defend against identity theft.
Tips for Protecting Electronic Transactions
Online transactions are a great way for thieves to get your personal information. Take the following precautions to protect yourself from online thieves:
- · Don’t provide personal information on any Web site unless you are certain that it is a secure site. When shopping online and entering credit card information, always make sure that the Web site begins with https:// and includes a locked padlock icon.
- · When entering personal information online, even on well-known Web sites, watch for signs that you’ve been redirected to a “cloned” replica site where your data can be captured without your knowledge. Such signs include odd error messages, unexpected page design or content, or other strange site behavior.
- · Never open spam and other e-mail from unknown sources — it may contain viruses or other programs that make your computer vulnerable to intrusion.
- · If you receive an email from a financial institution — even your own bank — never provide personal or account data. It’s always best to contact your bank directly and provide information in person or over the phone.
- · Install and activate a firewall on your home computer to keep hackers out — especially if you connect to the Internet by DSL or cable modem. Install virus protection and other security software, and keep it updated.
- · Before disposing of a computer or hard drive, remove personal information data using a strong “wipe” utility program. Do not rely on the “delete” function to remove files containing sensitive information.
- · Always store personal files and data securely in your home.
Identity Theft and your Social Security #- from the SS Administration: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10064.pdf
One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to opt out of mailings, e-mails and telephone offers. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt-out of receiving pre-screened credit card offers. All three major credit bureaus use this same toll free number.
Remove your name from many national direct email lists through the Direct Marketing Association website or write to:
Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Opt-out of national telephone marketers through the Direct Marketing Association (telephone preference) website or write to:
Direct Marketing Association Telephone Preference Service
P.O. Box 9014
Order your Free Credit Report
Consumers can obtain free copies of their credit reports annually, one from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. You can contact the credit bureaus directly for a copy of your report:
- · Equifax: (800) 997-2493 (www.equifax.com)
- · Experian: (888) 397-3742 (www.experian.com)
- · Trans Union: (800) 888-4213 (www.transunion.com)
To order a free copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus, visit annualcreditreport.com.