Stealing identities has never been easier thanks to today's increasingly sophisticated technology, in particular, easy access to high-quality computer software, scanners and printers. Common sense is your best protection against identity theft, and there are several things you need to know to protect your identity.

 To learn more about Reporting Identity Theft click the following link for a short tutorial Reporting Identity Theft.

What to do if your identity has been stolen

 
  • Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus. Select the following link for Credit Bureau Contact Information.
  • Place a security alert on your ChexSystems consumer file.
  • Contact all financial institutions where you have accounts that an identity thief has taken over or that were created in your name but without your knowledge.
  • Cancel those accounts, place stop-payment orders on any outstanding checks that may not have cleared, and change your Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, account and personal identification number.
  • File a police report and get a copy of the report to be used if need to show proof of the crime.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint.
    • Access the FTC’s ID Theft website
    • Call toll-free at 877.IDTheft (877.438.4338)
    • TDD at 202.326.2502
    •  Send mail to Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580
  • You may also want to contact the US Postal Inspection Service at U.S. Postal Inspector Service or the Social Security Administration at 800.629.0271.
 

To seek assistance, you may call:

 
  • Your bank and credit card companies to freeze your accounts. Ask your financial institution to close your compromised checking accounts and to report them to check verification companies such as Certegy and Telecheck as lost or stolen, which alerts retailers and other banks to the missing checks or information.
  • Your local police
  • Major check verification companies: Certegy Check Services, Inc. (800.437.5120) and TeleCheck (800.366.2425)
 

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Protect your identity

 

There are several things you can do to reduce the chance that you'll become a victim:

  • Safeguard your checkbook and supply of checks.
  • Don't put bills paid with checks inside your mailbox for postal pickup.
  • Guard your identity. Keep bank account numbers, personal identification numbers (PIN) and Social Security number out of your pocketbook and wallet.
  • Destroy financial documents such as old bank statements or credit offers that contain account numbers or account information.
  • Always write checks in permanent ink.
  • Use caution when providing financial information over the phone or Internet.
  • Review your bank statements or returned checks to verify no unauthorized transactions occurred.
  • If your wallet or checkbook is lost or stolen, act immediately to reduce the potential for damage to your personal funds and financial information.