10 Best Practices to Prevent Identity Theft
- Never give your PIN number or bank passwords to anyone.
- Shred bank account or credit card statements if you intend to throw them away.
- Keep credit and debit cards in a secure place.
- Never provide confidential information to anyone over the phone, by mail, or by Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Write "SEE ID" on the signature line on credit or debit cards. Be prepared to present your ID when using these cards.
- Routinely monitor your bank and billing statements.
- Never lend your credit or debit cards to anyone.
- Contact your creditors or utility companies if you do not receive a scheduled billing statement.
- Secure your personal financial information at home.
- Check your credit report annually.
How to order your free annual credit report:
- By telephone: (877) 322-8228
- Online: www.annualcreditreport.com
- By mail. Print out the order form here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/gettingReports.action
How do I know if my identity has been stolen?
- Failing to receive bills or other mail signaling an address change by the identity thief.
- Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply.
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
- Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn't buy.
What to do if Your Identity Has Been Stolen
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Worcester County Sheriff's Office: (410) 632-1112
Sussex County Sheriff's Office: (973) 579-0850
Or the place of identity theft.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You can file a complaint online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. If you don't have Internet access, call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653- 4261; or write:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
- Contact the Social Security Administration
- Correct Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports