|Warning Signs Of Identity Theft
- You receive bills from a credit account you did not open.
- You see unauthorized charges on your credit, long distance or bank accounts.
- You are contacted by a collection agency regarding a debt you did not incur.
- Checks disappear from your checkbook.
- Bank and credit billing statements don't arrive on time.
- Your credit report shows accounts you did not authorize.
- You are turned down for a credit card, loan, mortgage, or other form of credit due to unauthorized debts on your credit report.
Protecting Your Identity
Identity theft can happen to anyone. Previously, criminals stole your wallet for your cash, now they want your wallet to steal your good name. Protect yourself and your identity.
How To Avoid Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information without your permission. This information may include your name, address, driver's license number, Social Security number, mother's maiden name, birth date, or financial information such as your bank account, credit card or PIN number. An identity thief may obtain your identifying information by stealing credit card applications, bank statements, checks from your trash or mail, finding your lost or stolen wallet or purse, hacking your credit card number from a corporate database, or stealing your information from inside a company that holds it.
An identity thief may use your information to obtain new credit cards, open checking accounts, get a bogus driver's license or Social Security card, make long distance calls, apply for a job, or make purchases using your bank account or credit card. Identity theft is a felony crime and should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. Because of the nature of the crime, you may not realize your identity has been stolen until you are denied credit, turned down for a job, or sent a bill for purchases you did not make. By that time, your good name and credit history may be in ruins. Rebuilding good credit in the aftermath of identity theft can take months or even years.