If You Suspect Your Identity Has Been Stolen...
1. Report it.
Contact the fraud units at each of the three principal credit bureaus:
Describe the situation and ask that a fraud alert or protective statement be added to your credit file for at least a year. That way, credit grantors should call your phone number to verify it was you who requested credit. They should also remove you from the list for pre-approved credit.
2. Contact the police.
Report the crime to USCPD at 803-777-4215 or to the police department in the area where the crime occurred.
3. Have any fraudulent accounts closed.
Contact the security departments for the appropriate creditor or financial institution where the accounts were opened or accessed.
4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission.
File an official complaint with the FTC.
5. Request a copy of your credit report frequently.
Every few months, request a copy of your report to monitor for suspicious activity.
Prevent Identity Theft
Be mindful giving out your financial information.
We may use our credit cards, debit cards, or other financial transaction methods several times a day. Be mindful of who you are sharing information with and vigilantly monitor your financial accounts for any suspicious activity.
Ask how your information will be used before providing it.
If you do not absolutely have to give personal information, do not give it. You may have the choice to not provide information requested, such as telephone numbers, addresses, social security numbers and other valuable information.
Follow up if you don't receive financial statements on time.
If you do not receive credit card bills or other financial statements on time, follow-up on them quickly. Consider paperless statements.
Only provide your social security number when absolutely necessary.
Other forms of identification may suffice.
Carry only the cards you need.
Limiting what you carry with you can minimize damage if your wallet or cards are stolen.
Check your credit report at least once per year.
Check for accuracy, any suspicious transactions, or unauthorized activity. Under federal law, you are entitled to a free report from each of the three major agencies every 12 months. You can request reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Guard all personal information carefully.
Shred bills, statements, receipts, credit applications/offers, expired credit cards, and any other information containing personal or financial information as soon as it's no longer needed.