If any personal information is lost or stolen: TAKE ACTION!!
1. Financial accounts- Close any accounts that may be compromised. Make sure to immediately cancel or put a hold on any bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards.
2. Social Security number- Call a toll-free fraud number of any consumer reporting companies and place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. This can help stop someone from opening a new credit account in your name.
3. Driver’s License/other Government issued Identification-
Contact the agency that issued your license or any id card. Follow the procedure to cancel the document and get a replacement. Ask to flag your file so that another account may not be opened in your name.
If your information has been misused, file a report about the theft with the police, and file a complaint with the FTC. If another crime was committed, report to police immediately.
How Identity Theft Occurs:
*Identity Thieves Steal Personal Information
They acquire information from businesses or other institutions by:
• Stealing records or information while on the job.
• Stealing Mail -Information found in the mail includes: bank statements, credit card statements, credit card offers, and tax information.
• Dumpster diving- Rummaging through personal trash, business trash, or public trash for personal information.
• Abuse credit report access. The thieves pose as landlords, employers, or someone else with legal right to an individual’s report.
• Skimming-Capturing private information on a data storage device usually by swiping a credit card to an ATM machine or device where information is entered.
• Phishing-Posing as a legitimate company claiming that an individual has a problem with their account.
*How to identify if someone is using Personal Information
• The thief will call a credit card agency and ask for a change of billing address. If this has been done, it may be a while before you realize the fraudulent charges.
• Open a new credit card in your name. If the charges are not paid, the delinquent accounts are reported to your credit report.
• Establish accounts in your name. These accounts include: phones, wireless access, and bank accounts.
• Purchase items such as a car. They also make take out an auto loan using your name
• Issue new drivers licenses with their picture in your name.
• File bankruptcy using your name to avoid paying debts or eviction.
• May write counterfeit checks, use credit or debit cards using your name to drain your bank account.
• Get a job or file fraudulent tax returns in your name.
• Give your name to police during an arrest. If they don’t show up for a court date, a warrant is issued in your name.
IT’S THE LAW!
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
In October 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (Identity Theft Act) to address the problem of identity theft. Specifically, the Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 1028 to make it a federal crime when anyone: knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.
Violations of the Act are investigated by federal investigative agencies such as the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
United States. Take Charge:Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. , Print.
For More information on how to protect yourself against Identity Theft contact United Financial Counselors today!