Identity Theft Prevention

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the misuse of your personal identifying information without your permission. Your personal identifying information includes your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Financial Account Information
What Ways Can A Thief Steal Your Identity? 
Stealing your wallet, purse, or personal documents and information.
By skimming - stealing your credit card number when you are making a purchase.
By phishing - online request to your email or a pop up message requesting you update your account information immediately.
By pretexting - tricking an individual into giving personal information over the phone.
By pharming / spoofing - redirects user from a valid website server to a criminal monitored website server.
By dumpster diving - digging through trash for discarded bills or credit card offers.
By unlawfully getting a copy of your credit report.
What Can a Thief Do With Your Identity?
Open new credit cards and/or checking accounts
Make unauthorized purchases on your existing credit cards
Setup utility accounts in your name (i.e. cable, phone, etc.)
Obtain false government ID's
File for bankruptcy in your name
How Can You Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft?
Cut up or shred old bills, credit card offers, receipts, bank statements and anything else that contains personal information.
Review your credit report annually to ensure the information is accurate.  You can receive a free copy every 12 months from each reporting company.
Create passwords that are difficult to guess.  Include letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols (!, $, #) when possible.
Minimize the identification information and number of cards you carry.  Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or purse.
Cancel credit cards that have been used in six months.  Open credit is a prime target.
Protect your personal information inside your home in a safe, or secure in a hidden place.
Do not give out your personal information unless you have initiated the contact or know the person/company with whom you are working with.
Drop off mail at the local post office.  Stop mail delivery while out of town.
Pick up new checks at the bank instead of having them mailed to your house.
Opt out of receiving credit card offers in the mail.
Add your telephone number(s) to the National Do Not Call Registry.