Financial Education: Safe Credit
Protect Your Identity
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Protect Your Identity |
If your wallet is lost or stolen, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests you:
- File a report with the police as soon as possible. Keep a copy of the report in
case your bank or insurance company needs proof of the crime.
- Cancel your credit cards immediately. Get new cards with different numbers.
- Report missing cards to the major credit reporting agencies:
- Report the loss to your bank. You might want to open new checking and savings accounts
and stop payment on any lost checks.
- Contact the major check verification companies to request that they notify stores
that use their databases not to accept these checks. You can also ask your bank
to notify the check verification service with which it does business. Three of the
check verification companies that accept reports of check fraud directly from consumers
International Check Services:
- Get a new ATM card with a new number and password.
Even worse than getting your wallet stolen, however, is identity theft, or ID theft.
There have been many cases of ID theft.
With ID theft, thieves take personal information about you, such as your Social
Security number, credit card numbers or other information. They might take it from
your wallet, purse, mailbox, trash or any other means.
The thieves might call your credit card companies and pretend to be you. They might
ask to change the mailing address on your credit card account. Then they use your
credit card number to charge goods and services.
They might even open a new credit card account using your name, birth date and Social
Security number. If they use your name and Social Security number, the charges can
show up as a delinquent account on your credit report since they will not pay the
bill. The thieves could even open a bank account in your name and write bad checks.
How to reduce the risk of ID Theft:
The following points are recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission to minimize
the risk of identity theft:
What to do if you are a victim of ID Theft:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends the following actions if you believe
you are a victim of identity theft. You can also call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline
at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
Take action immediately! Keep records of your conversations and all correspondence.
- Contact the fraud department of the three major credit reporting agencies. Tell
them you are an identity theft victim. Ask them to place a "fraud alert" in your
file. Ask for a copy of the credit report. They must give you a free copy of your
report if it is inaccurate because of fraud.
- Contact your creditors about any accounts that have been changed or opened fraudulently.
Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department.
- File a report with your local police. Get a copy of the police report so you have
proof of the crime.
For more information regarding identity theft, visit the following Web sites:
(you can also call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
(you can also call 1-800-876-7060)