How to Avoid Being a VICTIM of Identity Theft

                                                                                                                                           
Identity Crimes defined

Theft or misuse of personal financial identifiers in order to gain something of value and/or facilitate other criminal activity.
Identity Crimes often begin with other crimes such as having your wallet or purse stolen, robbery, mail theft, computer intrusions, dumpster diving, skimmers and fishing.
- Dumpster diving is defined as rummaging through home trash, business trash or dump sites to obtain personal information.
- Skimming is defined as using an electronic device which can read magnetic strips on the back of credit/debit cards to retrieve personal account information.
- Fishing is a practice of getting personal information under false pretenses (phony surveys).


Types of Identity Crimes 

- Identity Theft
- Check Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- False Identification crimes (using false name while under arrest)
- Bank Fraud

                                           

Personal Information that is stolen includes:
 
- Name, date of birth, address, phone number
- Social Security Number
- Driver's License number, passport or visa numbers
- Passwords (mother's maiden name, pet names, etc)
- Financial information:  Credit cards, Bank Account numbers, PIN numbers, Insurance account numbers.

PREVENTION

- Use caution when disclosing personal or financial information
- Use a shredder on all documents and mail
- Check your credit at least once a year
- Look carefully at your billing statements
- Opt out of pre-approved credit offers
- Pick up new checks at the bank
- Limit personal information on checks
- Don't leave outgoing checks or bills in your mailbox
- Be internet smart, order only from trusted sites
- When possible use a 3rd party payment service, such as "PayPal".



If you Become a VICTIM

- Report it quickly to your local Police Department
- Notify credit bureaus-Fraud Dept
- Notify your Bank
- Notify the Federal Trade Commission
- Keep records of everything (bills, who you talk to, police reports, date and times)
- Notify your Drivers License bureau
- Notify passport offices
- Contact utilities offices

Useful Links for Further Information

Federal Trade Commission
www.consumer.gov/idtheft

Identity Theft Resource Center
www.idtheftcenter.org


U.S. Department of Justice
http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html

Credit Bureaus

www.equifax.com
www.experian.com
www.tuc.com
 
                                                                                                             Posted 03-05

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For more information concerning this website , please contact Officer Don Mewbourn
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This site last updated November, 2011