Id Theft, What Is This And How Do I Protect Myself?

Identity Theft is when someone uses another person's social security number, driver license, name, address, telephone number and any other information about that particular person as their own. The unauthorized person that obtains this information without the other person's knowledge uses this information to commit theft and fraud.

How does a person committing ID theft get my information? By going through your trash, hacking into a computer that you may use, securing a copy of your credit report, stealing credit card and debit card numbers that you may have, stealing your mail,completing a change of address form to reroute your mail to a different address, stealing your purse or wallet, and scamming information from you by posing as a business person.

How would I know if I am a victim of ID theft? If you receive credit card statements for accounts you did not apply for, you do not receive your mail, your credit is being denied and you do not know why, counterfeit checks are used to withdraw money from your bank account, you receive calls from collection agencies about bills for accounts established with your personal information that you do not know about,and other problems that you may have with your personal information.

Should I order a copy of my credit reports to find out if I am a victim of identity theft? Yes, you may want to consider doing this if you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft. You would want to order a copy of your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies which are: Equifax www.equifax.com 1-800-685-1111; Experian www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742; and; TransUnion www.transunion.com 1-800-916-8800.

What should I do if my identity is stolen by someone? Contact the three credit reporting agencies as soon as possible and let them know that you are a victim of ID theft and ask them to place a fraud alert and your statement as a victim in your credit report file. Order a copy of your credit report from each agency to check the information on your report.

Contact the credit reporting agencies fraud units at these telephone numbers or addresses: Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, P.O. Box 74021, Atlanta, GA. 30374-0241:: Experian: 1-888-397-3742, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX. 75013:: TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA. 92834-6790.

Should I close my credit and checking accounts if ID theft has occurred? Yes, you may want to consider closing your credit and checking accounts if you suspect identity theft. Contact your bank and creditors about your identity being stolen and consider closing your accounts and establish new ones.

If your checks are stolen, request that your bank notify the check verification company that they use. You may also want to contact the major check verification companies as well.

The major check verification companies that you would want to contact are the following: Telecheck, 1-800-710-9898 or 1-800-927-0188:: Certegy Inc., 1-800-437-5120:: and; International Check Services, 1-800-631-9656.

You may also want to contact a company known as Scan at 1-800-262-7771 to find out if an identity thief has been using your checks. In addition, you should also contact your local police department and report that your identity has been stolen.

Make sure that you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about your identity being stolen as well. You can file this report at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.