Identity theft occurs when fraud is attempted or committed using the identifying information of another person without their authority. Information commonly used by identity thieves includes name, date of birth, social security number, or mother’s maiden name. Criminals commit fraud by:
- Conducting unauthorized transactions on existing accounts.
- Taking over an existing account through prolonged use or emptying the account.
- Establishing or attempting to establish new accounts (credit cards, loans, etc.) using acquired information.
How to protect yourself
- Protect your personal information. Only give out this information if you know how it will be used or shared and you’ve initiated the contact.
- Only provide your Social Security Number or Driver’s License number when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t keep unnecessary information in your wallet or purse.
- Check your credit report at least once a year.
- Review your account statements promptly and report any discrepancies or suspicious transactions immediately.
- Shred or tear up statements, checks, credit card solicitations, charge receipts, expired cards and all other documents containing personal information.
- Promptly pick up delivered mail and deposit outgoing mail at a postal mailbox or the post office.