How To Avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information without your permission. This information may include your: 

  • Address
  • Birth date
  • Driver's license number
  • Financial information such as your bank account, credit card or PIN number
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Name
  • Social Security number

How Thief's Obtain Your Information

An identity thief may obtain your identifying information by: 

  • Stealing credit card applications bank statements, checks from your trash or mail
  • Finding your lost or stolen wallet or purse
  • Hacking your credit card number from a corporate database
  • Stealing your information from inside a company that holds it

Why do People Steal Identities?

An identity thief may use your information to: 

  • Apply for a job
  • Get a bogus driver's license or Social Security card
  • Make long distance calls
  • Make purchases using your bank account or credit card
  • Obtain new credit cards
  • Open checking accounts

Felony Offense

Identity theft is a felony crime and should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. Because of the nature of the crime, you may not realize your identity has been stolen until you are denied credit, turned down for a job, or sent a bill for purchases you did not make. By that time, your good name and credit history may be in ruins. Rebuilding good credit in the aftermath of identity theft can take months or even years.