Identity Theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans each year. It happens when someone uses your personal information like your name, date of birth and Social Security Number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Criminals can obtain your information with a number of methods such as dumpster diving, skimming, phishing, medical benefit fraud, social networking sites, old-fashioned stealing, and pretexting.
Signs of Identity Theft
- Unexplained bank account withdrawals or charges
- Missing bills or other mail
- Your checks or cards are declined by merchants
- Mysterious debts
- Medical bills for services you did not use
- More than one tax filing in your name, or record of an employer you've never worked for
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
- Do not dispose of ATM receipts, credit card statements, cards or statements in usable form.
- Don't give out credit card information over the phone unless you are initiating the call.
- Keep phone numbers on hand to report lost or stolen credit cards.
- Immediately report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution, credit card company, and police as soon as you discover them.
- Keep accurate records of health care appointments and carefully review your insurance explanation of benefits.
- Review your credit report at least once per year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to access your free credit reports.