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:
- Stealing your wallet, purse, or checkbook.
- Shoulder Surfing: watching you punch in your pin codes or listening to your conversation as you give your personal information over the phone.
- Stealing your mail.
- Going through your trash.
- Obtaining your credit report.
- Getting your personal information
- Pre-texting: using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from banks, telephone, or credit companies.
- Skimming: using a special storage device to record credit and debt card numbers.
- Phishing: pretending to be a financial institution or other company in an attempt to persuade you to reveal your personal information.
- 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:
- Credit Card Fraud
- Utilities Fraud
- Employment Fraud
- Government Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Loan Fraud
- Investment Fraud
- Criminal Fraud
- Medical Fraud
How to protect yourself from Identity Theft:
- Install passwords on your credit cards, bank and phone accounts!
- Pay attention to your billing cycles!
- Protect your deposit slips and check book!
- Monitor your accounts and keep your receipts!
- Do not give out personal information over the phone or internet unless you made the initial contact!
- Guard you mail from theft!
- Buy a shredder!
- Have recurring checks direct deposited into your bank!
- Minimize the amount of identification and the number of debit/credit cards you carry!
- Secure personal information in a safe place!
- Only give your Social Security number when absolutely necessary!
- Know who has access to your personal information!
- Place an Active Duty Alert on your credit report!
- Order a copy of your credit report every year.
Three major credit bureaus are:
- Equifax: www.equifax.com
- Experian: www.experian.com
- TranUnion: www.transunion.com
What to do if you’re a victim of Identity Theft:
- Contact the credit bureaus and request a fraud alert.
- Close all fraudulent accounts immediately. Notify your credit card companies, banks and any other financial institution.
- 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.