Safety and Preparedness : Identity Theft
Identity theft is the criminal use of an individual’s personal identification information. Identity thieves steal information such as your name, social security number, driver’s license information, or bank and credit card accounts and use the information to establish credit, make purchases, apply for loans or even seek employment.
The statistics are staggering. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida was ranked second in the nation for fraud and identity theft complaints in 2010, with over 92,000 reported complaints. Victims of identity theft can come from any lifestyle regardless of race, gender, age or socioeconomic status. The following guidelines will assist you if you become the victim of identity theft.
- Step 1 Report the incident to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus.
- Step 2 Contact the fraud department of each of your creditors. Gather the contact information for each of your credit accounts (credit cards, utilities, cable bills, etc.) and call the fraud department for each creditor.
- Step 3 Contact your bank or financial institution.
- Step 4 Report the incident to law enforcement.