Identity Theft: Prepare and Protect Yourself

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Identity theft occurs when someone steals another individual’s personal information to obtain credit, secure loans and mortgages, establish utility accounts, and so on. Identity thefts have become …

Identity theft occurs when someone steals another individual’s personal information to obtain credit, secure loans and mortgages, establish utility accounts, and so on. Identity thefts have become increasingly common over the past several years and have cost both the lending community and consumers billions of dollars.

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  • Thomas J. Fox Community Outreach Director Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. IFL Certified Educator in Personal Finance AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor 413-241-2362 [email_address]

Transcript

  • 1. Identity Theft: Prepare and Protect Yourself
  • 2. What is Identity Theft?
    • Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
    • They use information such as your:
      • Name,
      • Social Security number, or
      • Credit card number(s)
    • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates roughly 10 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 3. How Do Thieves Steal Identities?
    • Dumpster Diving: Search trash for bills or other paperwork containing personal information.
    • Skimming: Steal credit/debit card numbers using special storage devices when processing your card.
    • Phishing: Pretend to be financial institutions or companies communicating via e-mail or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
    • Changing Your Address: Directing your billing statements to another address.
    • Burglary: Steal wallets and purses; mail, personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.
    • Pretexting: Use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 4. How Thieves Use Your Identity
    • Change the billing address on your credit card so that you no longer receive bills, and then run up charges on your account.
    • Open a phone or wireless account, or run up charges on your existing account.
    • Use your name to get utility services like electricity, heating, or cable TV.
    • Get financing in your name.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 5. How Thieves Use Your Identity
    • Use your name to get government benefits.
    • Gain employment using your Social Security number.
    • Provide your personal information to police during an arrest.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 6. Protect Yourself
    • Shred financial documents and paperwork containing personal information before you discard them.
    • Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check.
    • Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet.
    • Don’t use obvious passwords.
    • Keep your personal information in a secure place.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 7. Be On The Lookout…
    • Signs you may be a victim include:
      • Mail or bills that do not arrive as expected
      • Unexpected credit cards or account statements
      • Denials of credit for no apparent reason
      • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 8. Do Some Detective Work
    • Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, to order your free credit reports each year.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 9. If You Become A Victim
    • Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully.
      • Equifax:
      • 1-800-525-6285
      • Experian:
      • 1-888-397-3742
      • TransUnion:
      • 1-800-680-7289
    • Close accounts.
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 10. If You Become A Victim
    • File a police report.
    • Report your complaint to the FTC.
      • Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
      • By phone:
      • 1-877-438-4338
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200
  • 11. Questions? Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.• Agawam • MA • 1-800-897-2200