Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses a consumer’s personal identification, credit, or account information.
Identity theft has developed into one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. If you are the victim of identity theft, there are numerous resources available to assist in reporting the ID theft and to help you protect yourself from ID theft.
How identity theft occurs:
- Mail Theft – A thief steals credit card payment or pre-approved credit card offers with convenience checks from a mailbox. Or, steals your mail posted for the mailman.
- Dumpster Diving – A thief steals account information (that was not shredded) from a garbage can or dumpster.
- Inside Access – A dishonest employee retrieves personal information that a business has collected for legitimate reasons.
- Purse or Wallet Theft
- Internet – Personal identification on the internet is accessed by a thief.
- Mobile Apps – Some mobile apps can share and/or access personal information on your smartphone or tablet.
If you are the victim of identity theft, here's what you can do:
- File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen to prove to credit providers that you are diligent. This is also the first step in the investigation, if there is one.
- Notify your financial institution and ask them to add an alert to your portfolio and individual accounts to require identification.
- Notify the Social Security Administration, if your social security number has been compromised, by calling their fraud line at 1-800-269-0271.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline by the following methods:
Call: Toll-free number: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); or TDD: 202-326-2502
Mail: Write to the FTC at the following address:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Additionally, you can:
The following is a list of agency websites that contain additional valuable information regarding fraud prevention and steps to follow after becoming a fraud victim: