What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it without authorization for their own gain. It is a crime that is becoming more and more prevalent. The fact is it is very easy for someone to get your personal information. By finding your social security number, birth certificate, wallet, credit card information, or account numbers, an identity thief can “steal” your identity and use it fraudulently to do detrimental things to your financial and medical status among other things.
How can someone steal my identity?
Identity thieves have a variety of ways to get your information and steal your identity. They can rummage through your trash or mail, steal your wallet or purse, complete a change of address form to divert mail away from your home, or find any other way to obtain your personal information.
What can happen to me if my identity is stolen?
Once identity thieves have your information, they are able to go on shopping sprees with your money and credit, open accounts in your name, and really use your identity for whatever they want, tarnishing your good name and credit.
What can I do to prevent someone from stealing my identity?
In reality, there is no one way to stop identity thieves, but there are some steps you can take to lessen the chance of your identity being stolen:
- Shred any unneeded materials with personal information before throwing them away.
- Immediately notify a company of a late or missing statement.
- Look for any suspicious activity on your accounts every month.
- Use Internet Banking to check accounts daily.
- You may request that consumer credit reporting companies exclude your name from lists for pre-approved, unsolicited credit and insurance offers. To find out more, please call (888) 5OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
What should I do if I suspect my identity has been stolen?
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, there are certain steps you can take to quickly recover:
- Inform each of your creditors of the fraudulent account.
- Make a record of everyone you speak with and their departments.
- Find out exactly what is expected of you from each creditor, what you can expect of them, and get a statement saying you are not responsible for the debt.
- Follow up to be sure your creditors have taken care of everything.
- Keep a check on all of your accounts even after the problem has been solved.
- File a fraud alert with all three of the credit reporting agencies listed below
Identity Theft Resources?
Please visit the Web sites below for additional information:
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation Identity Theft Unit
- Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Site
- United States Department of Justice Identity Theft and Fraud Section
- Social Security Administration – Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number
- IRS – Identity Theft and Your Tax Records