Identity Theft

Identity theft is when a subject takes any identifier of another person and uses it for fraudulent purposes. These identifiers include birth dates, social security numbers, credit card numbers and other pieces of information that identifies a particular person. Identity theft is the largest form of fraud in the country.

Uses of Stolen Information
This stolen information is used for many purposes including:
  • Obtain and use credit cards from the victim
  • Use victims credit to purchase items through loans
  • Obtain utilities in the victims name
  • Use victims information to have a "second life"
Prevention
There are several ways that you can help prevent becoming a victim of identity theft. These include:
  • Shred all documents and mail that have your identification before throwing them away. This includes all pre-approved credit card applications, bank statements and bills.
  • Check your credit report at least annually for any suspicious activity.
  • Promptly report all lost or stolen credit cards.
  • Keep your social security card in a secure location and don't carry it with you.
  • Don't give out your information over the phone to callers regardless of who they say they are.
  • Monitor your credit card statements for unauthorized activity.
  • If purchasing items on the Internet, use only secured sites. (Secured means that the transaction is protected by security software.
  • Be aware of when your bills should arrive and notify the businesses if they do not arrive. A common method of obtaining information is by mail theft.
  • Drop all outgoing mail in a secured or locked drop box instead of an open mailbox to prevent it from being stolen.
  • Notify law enforcement immediately if you suspect you are a victim.
Becoming a Victim
You may be notified that you are a victim in several ways. In some cases, credit card companies will contact you for either suspicious activity on your existing accounts or saying that you have not paid a bill for a credit card you have never applied for. In other cases law enforcement may notify you saying that you are a victim. Most identity thieves have numerous victims not just 1. What you need to do if you suspect you are a victim?
The moment you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, you should do the following:
  • Notify your local law enforcement by calling 704-878-3180
  • Get a complete credit check on yourself as well as others in your home and tell them you are a victim of identity theft.
  • Notify all of your credit card companies and other debtors of your situation so that they can assist you with maintaining your current bills.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-IDTHEFT or 877-438-4338.
  • Contact your local United States Postal Inspection Service.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline by calling 800-269-0271.
  • Obtain a credit report by contacting one of these 3 credit bureaus: