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.


- 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

Identity Theft Resource Center

U.S. Department of Justice

Credit Bureaus
                                                                                                             Posted 03-05


For more information concerning this website , please contact Officer Don Mewbourn
Copyright 2011 Collin County Community College District. All Rights Reserved.
This site last updated November, 2011