Debt Solution Home
Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is a serious crime. It happens when someone steals your personal
information to commit fraud or other crimes. If you are a victim then see
What To Do if Your Personal Identity Has Been Stolen at the bottom of this page.
It costs you time and money and can destroy your credit and ruin your name.
There are common ways ID theft happens and several things you can do to prevent,
detect, and minimize the damage of ID Theft.
If you have ever been a victim of ID theft, or had a credit card / debit card stolen , you know what a hassle it is to cancel and get new accounts/cards. Most major issuers
will reverse charges if they are legitimately fraudulent but you have to prove
it or at least answer a questionnaire.
ID theft can be very disruptive so be proactive and stop it before it happens.
Read the 9 tips on evaluating Id
Theft Companies (id theft protect) for your ID
Safeguard your personal information to prevent ID Theft
Steps to prevent your information from getting into the wrong hands:
financial documents and paperwork that contain personally identifiable
information such as SS#, credit/debit card numbers etc. Shred any credit card
offers and convenience checks (from credit card issuers) you receive in the
mail. As technology improves, they find new ways to get your
information so shredding may not be enough.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the
mail or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with. Don't
give out your social security number for example. When conducting online purchases, the connection should be secure (i.e. URL should be preceded with
HTTPS:) and it should be encyrpted.
- Never click links in unsolicited emails.
Even if you are familiar with the web site or company, Phising (pronounced fishing) schemes will attempt to duplicate the companies brand with the intention of getting you to
click the link so they can collect all your credit card information. So instead,
manually type in the web address that you know. Also use firewalls, anti-virus software to protect
- Don't use obvious passwords like birthdates, pet's names, mother's
maiden name or the last 4 digits of your social security number.
your personal information in a secure place at home
Use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online-you have more protection from fraud
Prevent check fraud tips
- Text Message Phising Can Lead to ID Theft
Detect suspicious activity
Routinely monitor your financial account and statements. Watch for these signs that require immediate attention:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Unexpected credit car or account statements
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls, letters about purchases you didn't make
- Inspect your credit report Credit reports contain information about you
including: your accounts and bill paying history . By law you are allowed 1 report from each of the 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Review your financial statements. Look for items on bank/credit card statements for
purchases you didn't make. Most banks and credit card issuers allow you to set up free online accounts. Set one up and
monitor frequently. Most will refund your money for purchases you did not make.
Protect Yourself an Minimize The Consequences of ID Theft
Take action immediately as soon as you suspect it:
- Place fraud alert on your credit reports.
This tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or before they make changes to existing accounts.
Placing alerts on your credit accounts entitles you to the free credit reports.
Look for inquires from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open and debts or transactions that you cannot explain.
- Close accounts. Close an account that has been hacked or established
- Call the
security or fraud department of each company where an
account was opened or changed without your permission.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit from ftc.gov/idtheft to support your statements.
verification that the account has been closed and the fraudulent transactions
have been discharged.
- File a police report
- Report the theft to the FTC
- Their are
services that can prevent ID theft and alert you when
someone attempts to steal your identity.
Common Ways ID Theft Happens
Thieves rummage through trash cans looking for bills, canceled checks, credit card statement,
bank statements and other documents with your personal information
- They skim to steal
credit and debit card numbers by using special devices when processing your
card. There have been instances where some waiters/waitresses have been paid to
provide your information to thieves, or they add a few cents to each bill. Be
suspicious of clerks/cashiers who take your card for any length of time. Watch
for odd looking devices at ATM machines and gas pumps. Shield the keypad when
entering your PIN #.
Phising (pronounced "fishing"). They pretend to be major
banks, financial intuitions, online credit card processing sites in order to steal your info. They send spam emails with links or create pop-up messages asking you to provide
passwords or asking you to update your personal information
- Change of address. They divert your billing statements to
another location by filling out change of address forms.
stealing. They steal wallets, purses, mail (including credit card statements,
bills, bank statements, new blank checks and tax information. They can also steal your personnel records from their
employees or bribe employees who have access. Beware of your
What To Do if Your Personal Identity Has Been Stolen
- Contact the three credit bureaus:
- Experian 888-397-3742
P.O. Box 9532, Allen Tx 75013
- Equifax 888-766-0008
P.O. Box 105068, Atlanta GA 30348-5069
- Trans Union 800-680-7289
Fraud Victims Assistance Dept
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
- ask the credit bureaus to flag your account with a
- Contact creditors for any accounts that may have been opened
This includes credit card companies, banks or other lenders. Close accounts immediately.
Contact the bank and stop payment on any outstanding checks. Cancel your
- Have fraudulent entries removed from your credit
- File a police report (and get a copy of the report)
If someone filed for bankruptcy in your name write to the US trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed.
- If you applied for a drivers license or ID card and do not receive it
within 60 days, cal your local DMV
- Alert your utility companies: water & trash, gas, electric, telephone/cell phone companies.