Identity theft is becoming an increasingly common form of thievery in this technology age. An identity thief takes some piece of your personal information and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud. This is a very serious crime and can cost you considerable time and money in cleaning up the mess thieves have created.
Identity Theft........Who can I contact if it happens to me?
Contact your local law enforcement as soon as possible. They can provide you with immediate assistance and help you in the process. We also want you to have the following phone number and website to aid you if this does happen to you. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Hotline toll free number is 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
You can also visit the FTC website at www.idtheft.gov.
The hotline and website give you one place to report the theft to the federal government and give you helpful information. The FTC puts your information into a secure consumer fraud database where it can be used to help other law enforcement agencies and private entities in their investigations and victim assistance.
Identity Theft........How do they get my information?
Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Make sure that the information on the report is accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized. By law, credit bureaus can charge you no more than $9 for a copy of your credit report. Repeat this process at least once a year. Credit Bureau information is as follows:
Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having service work done in your home.
Ask about information security procedures in your workplace Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that records are kept in a secure location. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well.
Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or are sure you know who you’re dealing with. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers (ISPs) and even government agencies to get you to reveal your SSN, your bank account information and other identifying information.
Guard you mail and trash from theft. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office, rather than in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you’re planning to be away from home and can’t pick up your mail, request a vacation hold from your post office. To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you are discarding and credit offers you get in the mail.
Do not carry your SSN card; leave it in a secure place. Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
Carry only identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you’ll actually need.
Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
Always protect your private information as best you can.
Community State Bank.
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