IDENTITY THEFT SAFETY TIPS

What is identity theft:  Identity theft is the fraudulent use of your name and identifying data by someone else to obtain credit, merchandise, or services.

How your information is obtained:  There are a number of methods a skilled identity thief may use to steal your information.  Some of these methods include:

  1. Stealing your wallet, purse, or checkbook.
  2. Shoulder Surfing: watching you punch in your pin codes or listening to your conversation as you give your personal information over the phone.
  3. Stealing your mail.
  4. Going through your trash.
  5. Obtaining your credit report.
  6. Getting your personal information
  7. Pre-texting: using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from banks, telephone, or credit companies.
  8. Skimming: using a special storage device to record credit and debt card numbers.
  9. Phishing: pretending to be a financial institution or other company in an attempt to persuade you to reveal your personal information.
  10. Changing your address: they complete a change of address form to divert your mail to another location where they can access it.

How your personal information is used:  An identity thief may use your personal information to commit the following:

  1. Credit Card Fraud
  2. Utilities Fraud
  3. Employment Fraud
  4. Government Fraud
  5. Bank Fraud
  6. Loan Fraud
  7. Investment Fraud
  8. Criminal Fraud
  9. Medical Fraud

How to protect yourself from Identity Theft:

  1. Install passwords on your credit cards, bank and phone accounts!
  2. Pay attention to your billing cycles!
  3. Protect your deposit slips and check book!
  4. Monitor your accounts and keep your receipts!
  5. Do not give out personal information over the phone or internet unless you made the initial contact!
  6. Guard you mail from theft!
  7. Buy a shredder!
  8. Have recurring checks direct deposited into your bank!
  9. Minimize the amount of identification and the number of debit/credit cards you carry!
  10. Secure personal information in a safe place!
  11. Only give your Social Security number when absolutely necessary!
  12. Know who has access to your personal information!
  13. Place an Active Duty Alert on your credit report!
  14. Order a copy of your credit report every year.

Three major credit bureaus are:

  1. Equifax:  www.equifax.com
  2. Experian: www.experian.com
  3. TranUnion: www.transunion.com

What to do if you’re a victim of Identity Theft:

  1. Contact the credit bureaus and request a fraud alert.
  2. Close all fraudulent accounts immediately.  Notify your credit card companies, banks and any other financial institution.
  3. File a police report and obtain the case number.

Indiana Statute for Identity Theft: Indiana Code 35-43-5-3.5

          A person, who knowingly or intentionally obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses the identifying information of another person, including the identifying information of a person who is deceased; without the person’s consent and with the intent to harm or defraud another person; assume another person’s identity; or profess to be another person; commits identity deception, a Class D Felony.