Identity Theft: What You Should Know

Identity Theft: What You Should Know
10 Best Practices to Avoid Identity Theft:

  1. Never give your PIN number or bank passwords to anyone.
  2. Shred bank account or credit card statements if you intend to throw them away.
  3. Keep credit and debit cards in a secure place.
  4. Never provide confidential information to anyone over the phone, by mail, or by Internet unless you initiated the contact.
  5. Write “SEE ID” on the signature line on credit or debit cards. Be prepared to present your ID when using these cards.
  6. Routinely monitor your bank and billing statements.
  7. Never lend your credit or debit cards to anyone.
  8. Contact your creditors or utility companies if you do not receive a scheduled billing statement.
  9. Secure your personal financial information at home.
  10. Check your credit report regularly.

How to order your yearly credit report:

Signs that your ID may have been stolen:

  • Failing to receive bills or other mail signaling an address change by the identity thief.
  • Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply.
  • Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
  • Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.

What you should do if you believe that your ID has been stolen or compromised:

    1. Immediately contact the three main credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your report.
    2. Obtain and review your credit reports from all three bureaus, line by line, looking any unusual activity.
    3. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
    4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
    5. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Affidavit
    6. You can file a complaint online at If you don’t have Internet access, call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653- 4261; or write:Identity Theft Clearinghouse
      Federal Trade Commission
      600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      Washington D.C. 20580


  1. Contact the Social Security Administration.
  2. Correct any fraudulent information in your credit reports.

Additional sources for help and/or information: