What Is Identity Theft & How Does It Occur?
Identity theft occurs when someone impersonates another individual by means of using personal information (such as birth date, Social Security number, name, address, and bank account information) to commit fraud or other crimes without your permission. It can happen to anyone.
Tips to Protect Your Identity:
- Safeguard all account numbers and social security number. Consider making copies of the front and back of your credit cards and keep a list of all account numbers and phone numbers to contact if the card should be lost or stolen. Keep these items in a safe place.
- Don’t give your numbers to anyone who calls. Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiate the call.
- Get a shredder and shred information with your account information.
- Observe the mail. Some scammers will fill out change of address information to intercept mail.
- Never carry important numbers. Keep Social Security Numbers, bank card PINs, and mother’s maiden name out of your wallet.
- Thoroughly review credit card and bank statements. Ask yourself, “Why is this company asking me about this?” If you have doubts, contact the company in the way that you normally do; do not rely on unknown or suspicious contact information. Remember, legitimate companies will NOT ask you for information that they already know about you!
- Don’t respond to e-mails asking for personal information.
- Order a credit report once a year.
- Protect your computer and perform regular virus protection and maintenance.
- Use common sense. As the saying goes, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”