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|What is ID Theft?
"The 1990's spawned a new variety of crooks called identity thieves. Their stock in trade are your everyday transactions. Each transaction requires you to share personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); and your name, address and phone numbers. An identity thief co-opts some piece of your personal information and appropriates it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. An all-too-common example is when an identity thief uses your personal information to open a credit card account in your name."
-- from http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Here are some ways that identity thieves work:
|What to do if ID Theft happens to you?
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (877-438-4338)
Recently the FTC took steps to standardize the fraud declaration reports that victims file with banks and creditors. The ID Theft Affidavit, is designed to dispute an account falsely opened in your name. While some creditors and financial institutions may require additional or different paperwork, many of them accept this form, which will definitely save you time. It's wise however, to contact your creditors and financial institutions individually regarding their requirements before filling out the form. The FTC also has on online Identity Theft Complaint Form and a hotline (1-877-IDTHEFT) to guide you through the process.
Unfortunately, victims of ID theft may be conducting damage control
on their credit reports long after the original crime. However, by following
these steps you may be able to reclaim your identity and preserve your
Tips to help keep your ID safe:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P. O. 34012
Fullerton, CA 92834
PO Box 9556
Allen, TX 75013
|A new law enables consumers to request their free credit reports through a central web site, toll-free telephone line, or by mail and gives them the option of making a single request to get copies of their report from all three major credit bureaus. Consumers can order their credit reports by clicking on www.annualcreditreport.com, calling 877-322-8228, or filling out the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.|
Theft Clearinghouse - the U.S. government's central website for
information about identity theft. (Start with
If you've been a victim of ID theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline.
Theft: When Bad Things Happen To Your Good Name - an excellent
publication by the FTC about identity theft, how to avoid it, and what
to do if it happens to you.
Department of Justice on ID Theft and Fraud
ID Theft Resource Center - a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing a comprehensive program against identity theft -- in supporting victims of identity theft, broadening public awareness and understanding of identity theft, and decreasing the potential victim population.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse - a nonprofit consumer education, research, and advocacy program. Their publications empower you to take action to control your personal information by providing practical tips on privacy protection.
Identity Theft: Prevention & Survival - companion website to a resource packet & book about ID Theft.
www.consumerprivacytoolkit.com - information brochure regarding consumer privacy rights.
|You can opt-out of direct mail credit card offers by having
your name and address removed from mailing lists obtained from the main
consumer credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, Equifax,
and Innovis. Just call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688), Opt
Out Online, or write to the following address (be sure to include your
full name, current address, Social Security number and telephone number):
Be sure to include complete information about each name, address, telephone number and email address you would like excluded from these lists.
The BEST way to reduce those annoying phone calls from telemarketers is to register your phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency.
To reduce the amount of unsolicited e-mail you receive at home, visit
and fill out the registration form to have your email address removed from
direct marketing lists.
|Advertising Privacy Issues|
|The Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising - http://www.aboutads.info/