Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, taking over the victim's financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, renting apartments and establishing services with utility and phone companies.
What to do if you become a victim:
Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the problem:
- Set up a folder to keep a detailed history of this crime
- Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents
- Contact all creditors by phone and in writing to inform them of the problem
- Notify the US Postal Inspector if your mail has been stolen or tampered with
- US Postal Inspection Service (See phone listing under Federal Government)
- US Postal Inspection Service - Local Post Office (See phone listing under Federal Government)
- www.ftc.gov The FTC is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. The FTC helps victims by providing information to help resolve financial and other problems that could result from identity theft. Their hotline telephone number is 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
- Call each of the three credit bureaus' fraud units to report identity theft. Ask to have a "Fraud Alert/Victim Impact" statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts
- Request that a copy of your credit report be sent to you
P.O. Box 74021
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To order your report, call 1-800-685-1111
To report Fraud, call 1-800-525-6285
P.O. Box 949
Allen, Texas 75013-0949
To order your report, call 1-888-397-3742
To report Fraud, call 1-888-397-3742
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, Pennsylvania 19064-0390
To order your report, call 1-800-916-8800
To report Fraud, call 1-800-680-7289
- Alert your banks to flag your accounts and contact you to confirm any unusual activity. Request a change of PIN and a new password.
- If you have any checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the following companies:
|National Check Fraud Service
||(800) 710-9898 or 927-0188
|Equifax Check Systems
|International Check Services
- Contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271
- Contact New Jersey Motor Vehicles Services to see if another license was issued in your name. If so, request a new license number and fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process.
- Obtain description of suspect (if known)
- Obtain witness information
- What is the financial loss to you? Attach all supporting documentation
Internet and On-Line Services
- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery
- Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection mailboxes or at your local post office. Do not leave in unsecured mail receptacles.
- Never give personal information over the telephone, such as your social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number, or bank PIN code, unless you initiated the phone call. Protect this information and release it only when absolutely necessary
- Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills and other financial information you don't want before discarding them in the trash or recycling bin
- Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and ID, or better yet, cancel the ones you do not use and maintain a list of the ones you do.
- Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus once a year to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.
- Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gasoline pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork. When you no longer need it, destroy it
- Memorize your social security number and all of your passwords. Do not record them on any cards or on anything in your wallet or purse
- Sign all new credit cards upon request
- Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills
- Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial statements. Contact the sender if they are not received in the mail
- Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number. Never loan your credit cards to anyone else
- Never put your credit card or any other financial account number on a postcard on on the outside of an envelope
- If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved
- Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately
- Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration dates
- Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers
INFORMATIONAL WEB SITES
- Use caution when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers or other personal financial data at any Web site or on-line service location unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider
- When you subscribe to an on-line service, you may be asked to give credit card information. When you enter any interactive service site, beware of con artists who may ask you to "confirm" your enrollment service by disclosing passwords or the credit card account number used to subscribe. Don't give them out!
- Contact the Berkeley Heights Police Department. A case number will be assigned for your incident. Make note of this case number in your detailed history folder and reference it when you have contact with any business or law enforcement agency concerning this report. Depending upon the location (jurisdiction) of where the crime occurred (goods or services obtained to delivered) an investigator may or may not be assigned to this case.
- If the crime occurred in our jurisdiction and there are workable leads such as witnesses and suspect information, an investigator will be assigned to the case. Unfortunately, not all cases will be assigned to an investigator because there are no significant leads to identify the suspect.
Federal Trade Commission
Privacy Rights Clearing House
U.S. Government Accounting Office
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators
www.iafci.org (go to links section)