In 2012, identity theft affected the lives of 12.6 million consumers nationwide. What is identity theft? 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 crimes. In 12 percent of identity theft cases, the victim knew the perpetrator personally.
There are many ways to prevent identity theft. When shopping online look for the Trust-e symbol or a Better Business Bureau online seal. Make sure any online credit card charges are handled through a secure site or in an encrypted mode. Carrying as few credit cards as possible or shredding any financial solicitations or bank statements before throwing them away are also good practices.
What do you do if you suspect you have become a victim of Identity Theft?
If you believe that your identity has been stolen, there’s no time to waste. There are three steps you should take immediately to prevent further damage.
First, place an initial fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three credit reporting companies. Placing a fraud alert is free and you will be asked to provide proof of your identity. The alert will be valid for 90 days; remember to keep track of the fraud alert ending date because you want to keep it active.
Next you will need to order your free credit reports. Ask the company to show only the last four digits of your Social Security number on your report. Check the reports carefully and update or correct the information contained, if necessary. Keep copies of everything.
Last you will need to create an identity theft report. This step is important in helping you recover from the theft. You will want to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You will also want to file a police report with your local department.
Once you have reported and documented the identity theft, it’s important to monitor the situation. Keep track of your calls and correspondence, documents and deadlines.
We have a solution for you; have you enrolled?
Customers currently enrolled in ID Restoration are one phone call away from a Certified Restoration Specialist who will take Limited Power of Attorney to do the steps listed above. ID Restoration promises to restore your credit to pre-theft level and is available to all customers who currently have a Community Bank checking account.