Identity Theft

Identity theft is not a violent crime, however, we wanted to mention it because it can cause havoc on someone's mental well being.  Much like a violent crime, it is an invasion.  When someone is the victim of identity theft, they feel like they've been violated.  Their entire identity had been taken!

If your identity is stolen, at the very least, you should report it to the police.  Immediately after that you should contact the three main credit reporting agencies, followed by any credit card companies you own credit cards for.  Here are the numbers for the three credit reporting agencies, as well as the Social Security Adminstration Fraud Line:

Equifax

1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW)

1-888-397-3742

Trans Union

1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration (fraud line)

1-800-269-0271

 

Here are some tips on how to avoid all the headaches and hassles associated with identity theft.

·         Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc., so you will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel.  Keep the photocopies in a safe place.

·         Have your card numbers and the toll free numbers handy so you know whom to call.  Keep those where you can find them easily.  File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation.

·         Do not give personal information over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact.

·         Shred documents and pre-approved credit applications received in your name.

·         Never use your mother's maiden name, your birth date, or the last four digits of your social security number as a password.

·         Keep your social security card, birth certificate, or passport at home in a safe place.  Do not carry them unless necessary, for example, applying for a job or traveling in another country.

·         Do not print your social security number of driver's license number on your checks.

And last, but not least, order your credit report at least twice a year.  Reports can be obtained from a local credit reporting agency or by contacting any of the following:

Equifax

1-800-685-1111

http://www.equifax.com/

Experian (formerly TRW)

1-888-397-3742

http://www.experian.com/

Trans Union

1-800-680-7293

http://www.transunion.com/