The crime of identity theft is one of the quickest growing crimes in history. The Federal Trade Commission reports that one in four will fall victim of the crime. In 1998, Penal code section 530.5 was enacted, making it illegal for a person to obtain your personal information and attempt to use it to obtain goods, services, credit or medical information.

Tips for Identity Theft Prevention

  • Don't carry your social security card with you.
  • Be careful with receipts, take them with you. Don't throw them in public receptacles.
  • Use the post office instead of leaving mail in your mailbox.
  • Get a locking mailbox.
  • Shred anything with your name, address, date of birth, SSN or any credit solicitations.
  • Carefully review all statements, including bank, telephone, cable, cellular phone etc.
  • Request your credit report quarterly.
  • If you don't receive your mail for more than a couple days, check with the post office to see if there has been a change of address.
  • If statements are late, call creditors to see if a change of address has been filed.
  • Do not have your driver's license number or social security number printed on your checks.
  • Do not release personal information over the phone or Internet.
  • Order your social security benefits and earnings statement yearly.
  • Remove your name from Direct Marketing Association mailing and telephone lists.
  • Consider not listing your phone number.
  • Consider not using a professional qualification (Dr., Ph.D., and Atty. Etc.) in the phone book.
  • Do not carry PIN or passwords with you.
  • Never have new checks mailed to you; pick them up from the bank.

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What to do if Identity Theft Happens to You

  • Keep a log of all contacts. Get names, dates and times.
  • Call the fraud units of the three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Request an alert be placed on your record and ascertain the expiration of the alert. Also request a victims statement be placed on your account.
  • Contact all creditors, by phone and in writing, where fraudulent use has occurred.
  • Carefully review incoming statements for fraudulent use.
  • Report the crime to the local police having jurisdiction over the crime and provide as much documentation as possible.
  • Check with your bank in the event your checks were stolen. Look for fraudulent use or fraudulent accounts that you did not open.
  • Notify your utilities companies and ascertain if any new accounts have been opened in your name.
  • In the event your driver's license or identification were stolen, go to DMV and request a new number.
  • (Restrictions apply)
  • If your social security number is being used, call the Social Security Administration and inquire into getting a new SSN issued.
  • If you suspect your mail is being stolen, call the post office and inquire if a change of address has been filed.
  • Be prepared to back up everything in writing and by notarizing documents.

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Identity Theft Resource Numbers

Credit Bureaus

  • Experian
    P.O. Box 1017
    Allen, TX 75017
    (888) 397-3742 (Consumer Fraud Division)
  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374
    (800) 525-6285
  • Trans Union
    P.O. Box 390
    Springfield, PA 19064
    (800) 680-7289

Direct Marketing Association

  • Direct Marketing Association mail preference list
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale, NY 11735
  • Direct Marketing Association telephone preference list
    P.O. Box 9014
    Farmingdale, NY 11735
  • To opt out of direct marketing lists
    (888) 5 OPT - OUT(567-8688)
    or 800-353-0809

Social Security Administration

  • Social Security Administration Data Operations
    to order Social Security statement
    P.O. Box 7004
    Wilkes Barre, PA 18767
    (800) 772-1213
  • To report fraudulent use of Social Security number
    (800) 269-0271

To Report Fraudulent Use of Checks

  • Checkrite
    (800) 766-2748
  • Crosscheck
    (800) 843-0760
  • Chexsystem
    (800) 428-9623
  • Equifax
    (800) 437-5120
  • Intl' Check Svcs.
    (800) 526-5380
  • Scan
    (800) 262-7771
  • Telecheck
    (800) 710-9898
  • Federal Trade Commission Hotline
    (887) 438-4338
  • Federal Trade Commission web page

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Other helpful Identity Theft Protection Resources

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