Identity Theft

What is identity theft?

“Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.” (Federal Trade Commission)

How to protect yourself

  • Safeguard your information
  • Be alert for suspicious activity
  • Act quickly if you are a victim
  • Additional Resources about Identity Theft

Safeguard Your Information

  • Shred paperwork with personal information before discarding
  • Shred pre-approved offers of credit
  • Ask banks or credit card companies not to send "blank" checks extending credit
  • Protect your computer against unwanted intrusion
  • Sign up for credit card opt-out program to avoid unsolicited offers (www.optoutprescreen.com)
  • Secure your personal information at home and at work.
  • Avoid using public computers to access financial information.
  • Use strong passwords (see Wellesley College Password Guidelines)

Be Alert for Suspicious Activity

  • Be alert for denials of credit for no reason or bills that don’t arrive
  • Inspect your credit report. To order one free credit report each year, go to: www.AnnualCreditReport.com
  • Inspect your financial statements
  • Look for charges you didn’t make

Act Quickly if You Are a Victim

  • Take action immediately!
  • Contact your financial institutions
  • Cancel your credit cards
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report with the three credit reporting organizations
  • Change your passwords to online accounts
  • File a police report
  • Contact the Attorney General’s Office for more information

Additional Resources for Identity Theft Prevention

http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft/         

Official Federal Trade Commission identity theft resource site

http://www.identitytheft.gov/

Government identity theft resource site

http://www.equifax.com/home/en_us

National Credit Reporting Agency

http://www.experian.com/

National Credit Reporting Agency

http://www.transunion.com/

National Credit Reporting Agency

 

Learn about the FTC’s "3 Ds" of identity theft protection

 


 

Test your knowledge about identity theft

Go to OnGuardOnline.gov and play: