Identity Theft Assistance

Identity Theft Assistance

Identity theft has impacted our society exponentially over the past several years.  What are a few things that you can do to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft?  Here are a few tips:

  1. Never provide your credit card information or social security number over the phone.
  2. Restrict your online purchases to credible website and vendors.
  3. Closely monitor your billing statements for all of your accounts.
  4. Be sure to physically shred all documents or billing statements before throwing them away.
  5. Program the 1-800 number for the fraud department for your credit card company(ies) in your cell phone.
  6. Consider scribing the phrase "CHECK ID" on the rear side of your credit cards.
  7. Maintain complex passwords for access to online bank accounts and/or credit card accounts.
  8. Do no respond/interact to unsolicited emails or unsubstantiated emails requesting you to "verify your account" or similar verbiage.
  9. Cancel any credit card accounts that you do not use on a regular basis.
  10. Consider purchasing a credit monitoring service for you and our family.

If you have already fallen victim to identity theft, what steps should you take?  Here are a few tips:

  1. Contact the fraud department for all of your credit card companies and notify them of the suspected fraudulent activity.
  2. If you suspect that your credit cards have been compromised, demand that your currently issued cards be deactivated and that new cards be issued.
  3. Immediately contact one of the three major credit report bureaus and place a fraud alert on your name.  It is not necessary to call all three bureau's, you only need to contact one bureau.  Equifax: 1-888-766-0008  Transunion: 1-800-680-7289  Experian: 1-888-397-3742.
  4. Contact any vendors associated with unauthorized purchases and demand documentation of the alleged purchases.
  5. Be sure to request necessary forms to file affidavits of forgery to declare charges as fraudulent.

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