Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information such as name, social security number, driver's license number, credit card number or other identifying information to take on that person's identity in order to commit fraud or other crime.
If you have reason to believe your identity has been stolen, it is recommended you take the following actions.
Never carry your social security card or other cards that show your SSN, unless absolutely necessary.
Scam artists "phish" for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in e-mails and in postal mail.
DO NOT give out personal information on the phone, through the U.S. mail, through e-mail or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know who you're dealing with. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal your social security number, mother's maiden name, financial account numbers, passwords and other identifying information. Legitimate organizations have the information they need and will not ask you for it. There have been many reported attempts to gain access to personal information through e-mail solicitations that are made to appear as having come from a valid source (e.g., eBay, PayPal) but in reality are spoofed e-mail messages. Give your social security only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible. Don't carry your social security card.
Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any authorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don't arrive on time. It may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges
Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected. If you're not satisfied with the answers, don't give your personal information
Protect personal information on your computer by following good security practices.
Visit our Security Best Practices page for staying safe online.
Software such as anti-virus, anit-spyware, and ad blockers for your browsers will help keep you safe online