Identity Theft

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a criminal offense. It occurs when a person knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any state. Last year alone, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, a crime that cost them roughly $5 billion.

Tips to Prevent Identity Theft!

  • Review your consumer credit reports annually.
  • Shred and destroy unwanted documents that contain personal information.
  • Deposit mail in U.S. Postal Service collection boxes.
  • Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends.
  • Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
  • If you applied for a credit card and didn’t receive it when expected, call the financial institution.
  • Sign new credit cards immediately–before someone else does.
  • Memorize your Social Security number and passwords. Don’t use your date of birth as your password and don’t record passwords on papers you carry with you.
  • Never leave transaction receipts at ATM machines, on counters at financial institutions, or at gasoline pumps.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card or birth certificate–leave them in a secure location.
  • Don’t disclose credit card or other financial account numbers on a Web site unless the site offers a secure transaction.
  • Closely monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards and contact the issuer if you don’t receive a replacement prior to the expiration date.
  • Beware of mail or telephone solicitations that offer prizes or awards–especially if the person asks you for personal information or financial account numbers.
  • Match your credit card receipts against your monthly bills and check your monthly financial statements for accuracy.
  • Watch for your monthly financial statements and bills. If you don’t get them when expected, contact the sender.

 Some helpful links to further your knowledge on identity theft