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Identity Theft

When does identity theft happen?

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Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.

  • Serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve.

  • It is almost always committed to facilitate other crimes, such as credit card fraud.

  • Personal identifying information such as name, date of birth, social security number, and bank account numbers are extremely valuable to identity thieves.

Signs of possible identity theft

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  • Money withdrawals from your bank account that you can't explain.

  • You don't get your bills or other mail, or you get mail in someone else's name.

  • Merchants refuse your checks or your request for credit is declined.

  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren't yours.

  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.

  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn't use.

  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you've reached your benefits limit.

  • A health plan won't cover you because your medical records show a condition you don't have.

  • The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for.

  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

  • You are the victim of a robbery or burglary.

Resources

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  1. Place an initial fraud alert with the three credit bureaus:

    Equifax
    www.equifax.com
    1800-525-6285

    Experian
    www.experian.com
    1888-397-3742

    TransUnion
    www.transunion.com
    1800-680-7289

  2. After placing the initial fraud alert, you're entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies. Carefully review it and dispute unauthorized purchases.

  3. Create an identity theft report listing all the unauthorized purchases or accounts created in your name. Keep track of all the steps you have taken in response to the identity theft. This identity theft report will help you deal with credit reporting companies, debt collectors, and businesses that gave the identity thief credit or opened new accounts in your name. The report may also help you get fraudulent info removed from your credit report.

  4. File a police report about the identity theft and get a copy of the police report or the report number.