Identity Theft Information
Identity theft is stealing someone’s personal information and using it to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft is a serious crime. Victims can have their identities stolen for months or years and not even know it. Identity thieves get personal information in many ways.
- Practice “dumpster diving,” to get information from trash found at homes or workplaces.
- Steal wallets or purses for IDs, credit cards, and other information (or they can enter your home to steal personal data.
- Steal mail, such as bank statements, bills, credit card offers and tax information.
- Pose as a rental agent or employer to get credit reports.
- Go online to steal information you may share on the internet.
- Pay an “inside” at a store or at work who has access to personal information.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
- Do not carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate except when absolutely necessary.
- Install a locked mailbox at your residence or use a post office box to reduce the chance of mail theft.
- Pick up new checks at your bank.
- Do not leave paid bills in your mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up.
- Ask your financial institutions to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional code when accessing your account.
- Protect your Social Security Number (SSN) at all costs. Do not let merchants write your SSN on your checks. Request merchants to use other forms of identification.
- Never allow credit card numbers to be written on your checks.
- Do not use your birth date or mother’s maiden name as PIN numbers or passwords.
- Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. This will reduce the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive in the mail.
- Shred all paperwork with financial and personal information on it before throwing it in the garbage.
What To Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
- Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies. Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert.
- Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently by phone and in writing. The Federal Trade Commission provides a uniform affidavit form that most creditors accept.
- Report the crime to your local police, sheriff’s office or Florida Highway Patrol Bureau of Investigations office.
- Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit fraud.
- Contact the Social Security Administration to report fraudulent use of your Social Security Number.
- Contact the Passport Office to alert them to anyone ordering a passport fraudulently in your name whether you have a passport or not.
- Call the office of the Division of Driver Licenses to see if another license has been issued in your name.
- Free Report
- Order online and get immediate access to your report and score.
- Order by phone: 1 888 397 3742
- Visit our Credit fraud center to add alert statements to your account
- Contact us by phone: 1 888 397 3742
- Contact Us
Free annual credit report: 1-877-322-8228
Dispute an item on your credit report: 1-800-916-8800
Fraud Victim Assistance Department: 1-800-680-7289