Methods to avoid identity theft
- Place outgoing mail into postal boxes
- Shred documents with personal information before throwing away
- Minimize what you carry in your wallet or purse
- Monitor your credit cards
- Check for skimmers when paying at the gas pump or using an ATM
- Get a copy of your receipt when eating out
- Consider RFID blocking wallets or purses
- When using WiFi don't access any site that required passwords or has personal information
- Try to avoid using public access WiFi
- Don't answer or open emails from unknown sources
- Don't open attachments to emails unless you know the source
- Avoid accessing risky websites
- When shopping online ensure it is on a secure website
How can identity theft affect you?
Drain your bank account
Make purchases with your credit cards
Open new accounts such as bank, cell phone, credit cards, etc.
Get government identification such as drivers licenses.
Receive medical care in your name
Give your information if arrested
File taxes in your name
Get a job under your name
Scams are time tested methods for identity thieves to steal money and personal information. Scam artists may contact you in person, by phone, mail, or email.
Ways to avoid being a victim:
- Be aware of current scams. Watch or read the news.
- Go to www.consumer.ftc.gov and click on "Scam Alerts".
- Go to www.ic3.gov and click on the "Alerts link.
- Independently verify! Find the physical address and phone number of who contacted you by yourself.
- Search online for the company name and website. Read through the site and read online reviews.
- Never send money or account information in reply to notices that you won a prize or lottery.
- Check www.give.org to verify charities.
Methods of identity theft
- mail theft
- dumpster diving
- purse or wallet theft
- skimming of credit cards
- RFID skimming devices
- Wifi access on public access
- Using shared computers
- Computer security breaches
- Phishing emails
- Online shopping
Be wary of imposters. Scams in which the scammer pretends to be a business you usually deal with are growing more common. If it is truly a business that you normally deal with they should already have your information. You should not have to provide any personal information to them.
To report a scam or fraud contact the following:
What to do if your a victim
- Call any business where fraud took place. Tell them your identity was stolen and ask for your accounts to be closed
- Place a fraud alert on your credit
- Order a credit report
- File a complaint with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-438-4338.
- File a Police report