Identity theft occurs when someone assumes another person's identity in order to access resources or for financial gain. The person who's identity has been stolen can endure substantial financial and emotional consequences. Be sure to protect your personal information as much as possible and act immediately if you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft.
Ways that someone could steal your identifying information:
- Rummaging through your trash
- Retrieving personal information from unprotected or under-protected computers or computer systems
- Using public records
- Stealing credit cards, passports, licenses, etc.
- Skimming credit card information using hand-held card readers
- Infiltrating organizations that store sensitive information
- Using false pretenses to trick people into giving away personal information
- And more.
If you suspect your identity has been compromised:
- Contact your local police and make a report.
- Contact credit card companies and companies where you have financial accounts.
- Contact the major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
More information is available at:
- Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
- United States Department of Justice: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html
- Social Security Administration: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/idtheft.htm