What is it? Identity theft occurs when someone steals your identity by using personal data about you such as your name, social security number, date of birth and financial information. Thieves then use this information to open charge accounts, order merchandise or borrow money in your name. The money lost due to identity theft went from $442 million in 1995 to $800 million in 2000.
As much as $2 billion a year may result from the major financial loss of credit card related identity theft.
As consumers, each of us are paying for their loss when we pay our bills.
How do they do it?
- Trash diggers get copies of credit card receipts, credit applications and other information that have been placed in trash containers.
- Mail thieves take letters out of personal mail boxes or steal letters waiting to be picked up by postal carriers.
- Purse snatchers take personal information and use it or sell it to others.
- Thieves get books and catalogs with your name, address and date of birth so they can go on spending sprees.
- Internet abusers can get information about any of us.
- Payroll, personnel department and credit bureau employees can access someone's records and sell personal information about that person to the highest bidder.
Who is at risk?
Each of us is a potential victim. It can happen to anyone. Protect Yourself!!!
- Do not give out any vital information, such as your birth date and social security number, to solicitors or retailers.
- Do not dispose of any personal identifying documents (prescriptions, receipts, bank deposit slips, pay stubs, expired credit cards, insurance policies, credit card applications) without first destroying the material.
- Shred discarded items, if possible.
- Do not give out any personal information during telephone calls from solicitors.
For even more information please try: Identity Theft
If you are victim you should contact the following:
The Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
The law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the crime occurred and where you live.
The U.S. Postal Inspector at your post office if you think your identity may have been compromised as the result of lost or stolen mail or if you think an identity thief has filed a change of address on you.
Your creditors if any of your credit has been compromised.
The Social Security Administration at 1-800-269-0271 for social security number misuse.
The numbers provided for your ATM and debit cards if your card or account number has been compromised.
The court where any false judgments may have been entered against you so they can be notified you are a victim of identity theft. Victims of identity theft can be wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the thief.
The United States Secret Service at (502) 582-5171 in Louisville and (859) 233-2453 in Lexington.
The Division of Financial Integrity Enforcement, Office of the Attorney General, 1024 Capital Center Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601 or by calling (502) 695-5300 or toll free at 1-800-804-7556.
Would you like to verify who is checking your credit?
By contacting the credit bureaus listed below, you can now have control of who receives a credit report on you. By putting FRAUD ALERT on your account, any of the companies listed below that are requested to complete a credit report on your account will automatically contact you to verify the application.
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
Equifax 1-800-272-9281 or 1-800-525-6285
Opt-out of Pre-approved Offers of Credit or Insurance 1-888-5 OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
This information reprinted from pamphlet information provided by the Office of the Attorney General Financial Integrity Division.