Protect yourself from Identity Theft
According to the Federal Trade Commission, as many as ten million Americans become victims of identity theft each year. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to establish credit, charge items or borrow money using your name.

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, please follow these steps:

  • Destroy unused credit card offers and other documents containing your personal information before discarding them.
  • Guard your Social Security number
  • Never give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your credit, debit or ATM card(s). Don’t write on or keep your PINs with your cards. You should also guard your ATM and credit card receipts.
  • Don’t release information to people you do not know, especially over the phone or Internet
  • Don’t pre-print your driver’s license, telephone or Social Security numbers on your checks
  • Review bank statements for accuracy when they arrive. If you have internet access, check activity at least weekly.
  • Report lost or stolen checks or cards immediately.
  • Make sure the Internet sites where you shop are secure. You can verify that a site is secure by looking for a padlock icon in the address line, an “s” after the http in the Web site address (https://), or checking the properties of the website to verify the URL address is the same.
  • Obtain a free copy of your credit report annually by contacting:
    P.O. Box 105281
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

If you become a victim:
  • Contact your bank and all others with whom you have a financial relationship
  • File a police report if you have a loss
  • Report the fraud to the major credit bureaus:

  1. Equifax: 800.525.6285
  2. Experian: 800.397.3742
  3. Trans Union: 800.680.7289
  • Contact your local police and ask to file a report. Even if the police can’t catch the identity thief, having a police report can help you in clearing up your credit records later on.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Call the FTC’s identity theft hotline toll-free at 1 (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338). The hotline is staffed by counselors trained to help victims and take their complaints. You may also file a complaint online at FTC.
  • Complete the identity theft affidavit, which will assist you in reporting to many companies that a new account has been open in your name. To download a copy of the identity theft affidavit from the FTC Web site, select the link: Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • To learn more about identity theft protection, visit the FTC Web site.