Identity Theft Prevention

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal identifying information like your name, Social Security number (SSN) or bank information and uses it to commit fraud. The average victim spends 300 hours trying to clear their name. That’s like working 24/7 for seven and a half weeks on nothing but the ID theft problem. That’s why prevention is important!

Don’t want to be a victim? Take these precautions to protect your personal information.

If you notice an increase in junk mail or pre-approved credit offers or mail isn’t arriving like it should, you may be a victim of identity theft. It’s a good idea to periodically check your credit report and make sure nothing illegal is going on in your name. If you’re over 18, visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order a free credit report from each of the three largest consumer reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you’re under 18, your parents may need to make the request on your behalf, but it’s worth the effort to make sure your report is clean.

If someone steals your identity or your personal information is compromised, act fast. Follow these steps to limit the damage.

    1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Fraud alerts prevent a thief from opening more accounts in your name.
    2. Close the accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your knowledge.
    3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
    4. File a police report.

For detailed information about each step, visit IdenityTheft.gov.