What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information (your name, Social Security number, or credit card number) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The FTC estimates that as many as nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year.
The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you did not make—or until you are contacted by a debt collector. Identity theft is serious. While some victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their name and credit records.
How can I prevent identity theft?
The most important way to prevent identity theft on the internet is to be careful and aware. Always be suspicious of requests for identity information, even from a site that appears to be legitimate. For information on scams that are currently being seen at EMU, go to our Known EMU Scams page.
What can I do if my identity is stolen?
- Alert Your Bank, Credit Card, and Other Loan Agencies - They can watch for suspicious activity and change account information. You need to obtain new credit cards and possibly new checks.
- Monitor Your Credit Rating - Watch for fraudulent loan applications and other suspicious activity. Placing a fraud alert on file with the credit monitoring agencies will prevent identity thieves from applying for new loans or accounts. It also entitles you to a free credit report from each of the credit agencies listed below, allowing you to review for suspicious activity.
- TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Equifax: 1.800.525.6285; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- Experian: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397.3742); P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
3. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint with the FTC one of three ways:
- Online at FTC's Create an Identity Theft Report web page.
- Call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1.877.ID.THEFT (438.4338); TTY: 1.866.653.4261. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have additional information or problems. Keep a copy of the report for use in filing a local police report.
- Write the Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580
4. File a Report with the Police - File a report with the local police, or the police in the community where the theft occurred, and include a printed copy of your Identity Theft Affidavit along with your supporting documentation.