Posted on March 15, 2016 at 8:40 AM by Victoria Mulherin
Tips on How to Prevent Identify Theft
There is a type of crime that does not involve weapons or force. Fraud is a robbery using deception as the weapon. Did you know that the average number of US identity fraud victims annually is 12,157,400? The total financial loss attributed to identity theft for 2014 was $26,350,000,000. Identity theft occurs when a thief acquires your personal information and uses it to impersonate you. They often do this to make purchase or apply for loans in your name with your credit.
Let’s take a look at some tips to prevent identity theft:
- Avoid giving out your social security, driver’s license and other identifying numbers at all costs.
- Secure your incoming and outgoing mail.
- Be careful what information you give out on the Internet.
- Shred all personal documents.
- Get copies of your credit reports once every year.
- Memorize important numbers (i.e. social security, PIN, passwords).
- Sign all credit cards immediately upon receiving them.
- If a bill/statement is late, contact the sending company.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies in advance before changing your address or phone number.
- Promptly report lost or stolen cards.
If you have been a victim of identity theft:
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the number 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
- Report theft to your local police.
- Contact the State of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Use the number 800-242-5846.
- Call each of the three credit bureau’s fraud units to report the identity theft.
- Equifax Credit Bureau at 1-800-525-6285
- Experian Information Solutions at 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion Credit Bureau at 1-800-680-7289
- Contact bank and all of your creditors by phone and in writing immediately.
- Report the theft to the Social Security Administration. Use the number 1-800-269-0271.
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to find if a new license was issued in your name. Use the number 1-888-486-3339.