Identity Theft Prevention and Recovery

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is nothing more than when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, social security number, credit/debit card or checking account number to commit a fraud or other crimes.

How Was My Personal Information Obtained?

Your personal information may have been obtained from one or more of the following:

  1. Mail taken from an unlocked mailbox
  2. A stolen purse or wallet with items inside including driver's license, social security card, credit/debit card, checkbooks or even passports
  3. Items taken from your vehicle which include vehicle registration or insurance cards that have your name and address and a "customer number" which is the registered owner’s driver's license number.
  4. Mail found in the trash that was not shredded
  5. Information given over the telephone
  6. Someone looking over your shoulder when using a credit or debit card at the ATM or grocery store
  7. Information passed through the internet on unsecured websites

When Do I File a Police Report?

When you have all your facts together and organized you should contact your local Police Department to file a report.

Contact Your Creditors and Close the Effected Accounts.

You should close all accounts that you believe have been used or accessed without your permission. Open a new account, change your password and PIN. Your creditors will assist you with this when you call to notify them of criminal activity.

Do I Need to Contact the Social Security Office?

If someone uses your social security number to commit a crime, you should notify your local office's Inspector General who will investigate the fraudulent use. The SSA Hotline is (800)269-0271 or go to Social Security Administration Website

File a Complaint Through the Federal Trade Commission.

The F.T.C. keeps track of all reported victims of Identity Theft. This information is stored for investigators and Police officers to use for their investigations. To contact the FTC go to www.ftc.gov. You can also get on the "NO CALL Registry" list on this website which will prevent certain telemarketers from calling your home.

NCIC and ACIC Alerts.

Your local police department has the capability to enter victims of identity theft into the National Crime Information Center and the Arizona Crime Information Center. If your name is entered it will alert a Police Officer that the person they contacted may be illegally using your name as their own.

Credit Fraud Alerts and How They Work.

There are two types of fraud alerts, Initial and Extended. An initial fraud alert stays on your credit for about 90 days where an extended fraud alert stays on your credit for about 7 years. A fraud alert is nothing more than having the credit bureau contacting you by telephone and or in writing when anyone attempts to create a credit account in your name. No credit application will be authorized without your permission.

Check Your Credit Report Yearly.

Contact one of the three major credit bureaus below for a free credit report, free once every year, to see if there are any fraudulent inquires or accounts on your credit report.

PREVENTION IS THE KEY.

Criminals are finding new ways to steal identities from unsuspecting victims but through education and teamwork we can help you FIGHT BACK. For more information on Identity Theft, visit www.ftc.gov and click on icons "Consumers" and "Identity Theft".

To Contact one of the three major credit agencies to enable a "Fraud Alert".

Equifax
P.O. Box 740256
Consumer Fraud Division
Atlanta, GA 30374
(800) 525-6285
www.equifax.com

Experian
P.O. Box 9530
National Consumer Assistance
Allen, TX 75013
(888) 397-3742
www.experian.com

TransUnion
Fraud Victim Assistance Dept.
P.O. Box 6790
(800) 680-7289
www.transunion.com