Identity Theft Resources

Your personal information is the foundation of your financial and online identity and is valuable both to you and to those who would use it for fraudulent purposes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 1.1 million fraud reports in 2017. Over 1,500 data breaches exposed nearly 179 million records. Those records included 14.2 million credit card numbers and 158 million Social Security numbers.

This is why it is important to be vigilant and take the appropriate steps to safeguard your personal information. Below we have compiled some information and links to help you protect yourself and reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

Statistics

Did you know that in 2017, younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people, and 1 in 5 people lost money to imposter scams? Each year the FTC releases the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. The FTC compiles complaints from consumers about fraud, identity theft, and other consumer related topics and then publishes that information in the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. This report is full of statistics, trends, and other information to help you stay informed as a consumer.

Prevention and Recovery Resources

Addressing identity theft has two phases: prevention and recovery. These resources will help you find ways to prevent yourself from falling victim to identity theft and other scams. If you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of identity theft, these resources will also assist you with recovering from that situation.

The FTC offers many resources to assist consumers. See the links below.

Another great resource is the Identity Theft Resource Center. IRTC is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft, data breaches, cyber security, scams/fraud and privacy issues.”

Credit Monitoring

One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud is to regularly monitor your bank and credit card statements as well as your consumer credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) requires each of the nationwide reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You must request the report.

Several websites purport to offer free copies of your credit report, but many of these have hidden fees or may even be scams. There is only one website authorized by the FTC for free credit reports: www.annualcreditreport.com. The FTC’s website has some additional information about this website as well as a toll-free number you can call.

There are three nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Instead of requesting your report from all three companies at the same time, consider staggering those requests over the course of 12 months. This will give you more exposure to the information these companies have compiled about your credit. Links to each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies along with their telephone numbers appear below.



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