Identity Theft Prevention

You become a victim of identity theft when someone steals key pieces of information about you. This might include your name, address, and date of birth, social security number or even your mother's maiden name.

Theft of these items enables someone to commit any number of acts of fraud, including taking over your financial accounts, opening new accounts, applying for credit cards or loans, social security benefits and use of rental services. The goal of identity thieves is to spend as much money as possible before you realize you have been victimized.

 If you have been a victim, please view our Victim of Identity Theft (PDF).

How Do Criminals Get Personal Information?
  • Obtaining a copy of your credit report
  • Off the Internet
  • Pilfering information from your mailbox
  • Sorting through your garbage
  • Stealing your purse or wallet
  • Watching your transactions at ATM machines and obtaining your PIN
How to Protect Yourself
  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended
  • Obtain a mailbox that locks
  • Remove delivered mail promptly
  • Deposit any outgoing mail at your post office
  • Never give out personal information over the telephone
  • Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card bills, and receipts
  • Follow these precautions with your credit cards:
    • Don't carry extra credit cards in your purse or wallet when shopping
    • Sign new cards immediately
    • Save all credit card receipts to match against monthly statements. Shred them when you no longer need them
    • Never leave receipts at ATMs, bank counters, trash receptacles, or gas pumps
  • Request a copy of your credit history on an annual basis and review it for any unauthorized activity. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from these 3 agencies:
    • Equifax Credit Bureau Fraud Department - 800-525-6285
    • Experian Information Solutions - 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion Credit Bureau Fraud Department - 800-680-7289