5 Tips for Protecting Your Identity
In This Article:
Stay Alert for the Signs of Identity Theft
Any of the following situations should raise your suspicions and move you to take action:
- Failing to receive a regular bill or account statement.
- Receiving a credit card you didn't apply for, or a bill for an account you didn't open.
- Finding charges you don't recognize on your accounts, or getting calls or letters from debt collection agencies.
- Being denied credit, for no apparent reason.
- Discovering false or inaccurate information on your credit reports.
Take Action Immediately
As soon as you are aware that someone has stolen your credit cards, driver's license, Social Security number, or any other type of identifying information, follow these steps:
- Cancel your credit cards, ATM cards, and debit cards, and close your bank accounts. If checks were stolen, notify your bank and the following agencies: Equifax (800-437-5120), Telecheck (800-710-9898), and International Check Service (800-631-9656).
- File a police report, and keep a copy.
- Call the credit bureaus, who can issue a fraud alert for you: Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742), and Trans Union (800-680-7289).
- Alert the post office, if you think a change of address may have been filed in your name.
- Contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles, if your driver's license has been stolen.
- Contact utility and phone companies, to alert them of suspicious activity or cell phone theft, and close accounts if necessary.
- Go to the Federal Trade Commission's website for more information.