Identity Theft

Protect Your Identity
Identity theft happens when someone pretends to be you by using your personal information when applying for loans, credit cards, or leases. In some cases, people may impersonate you when receiving traffic violations or in relation to other legal contact.
Identity Theft Symbols, Credit Card, Keyboard, Lock
Identity Theft Statistics
  • An identity is stolen every 4 seconds in the United states
  • The average cost to restore a stolen identity is $8,000
  • There are more than 10 million identity theft victims in the United States
  • Victims spend an average of 600 hours recovering from this crime
Top 5 Identity Theft Prevention Tips
There are some important proactive steps that every consumer can take to safeguard their identity. These top 5 tips (recommended by TrustedID) are things that everyone should do, or at least know about, to protect themselves and their family from becoming a victim of identity theft.
  • Beware of phishing scams: Scam artists phish for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in emails and via regular mail. Remember: Never give out your personal information, unless you made the initial contact. Don't respond to a request to verify your account number or password. Legitimate companies do not request this kind of information in this way.
  • Buy a shredder: Shredding all your personal information before tossing it in the trash will prevent dumpster divers from fishing out your pre-approved credit card offers. Shredders that cut lengthwise and crosswise are ideal as it minimizes the chances that potential thieves can tape your documents back together.
  • Change your passwords monthly: Do you bank online? Store personal information on your laptop? If so, it would be wise to change your password at least once a month and try to select passwords that will not be obvious to potential hackers.
  • Freeze your credit: If your data has been breached (electronically or via dumpster divers), there is not much an identity thief can do if your credit has been frozen. There is no way someone can open a line of credit (credit cards, house/car loans, etc.) without access to your credit information. (Plus, you can eliminate those potentially dangerous pre-approved credit card offers.)
  • Protect your computer from spyware and viruses: Spyware programs can collect many different types of personal information about you like passwords and credit card numbers. Always use firewall, virus and spyware protection software that you update regularly like Norton Internet Security. Only download free software from sites you know and trust.
Where to Go for Help
To report identity theft and get help regarding how to restore your credit contact:
  • Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20580
    Phone: 877-382-4357
To report identity theft, get your credit record (free for fraud victims) and to have it corrected, contact all of the following:
  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    Phone: 800-525-6285
  • Experian
    P.O. Box 1017
    Allen, Texas 75013
    Phone: 800-301-7195
  • Trans Union
    Fraud Victim Assistance Department
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, California 92384
    Phone: 800-680-7289