Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. The thief takes your social security number, bank account number or other information and causes problems such as taking out loans in your name or charging money to your bank account or credit card. Identity theft tops the list of consumer complaints at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It has become so prevalent that consumers are increasingly subscribing to ID theft protection services.
- Missouri Attorney General - Identify Theft
- Federal Trade Commission - Identity Theft
Identity Theft Safety Tips
- Don’t give out your social security or account numbers or other personal information unless you know and trust who you are dealing with.
- Leave your social security number off checks and driver’s license.
- Shred documents with personal information before you discard them.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
- Inspect your credit report regularly.
- Monitor your monthly statements for charges you did not make.
- On your computer, use virus protection, a firewall and spyware detection.
- DO NOT SEND GIFT CARDS! No utility company or government agency will instruct you to make payments using a gift card from Walmart or other stores.
- Monitor your credit reports. Watch for any suspicious activity or new accounts.
- Check your bank statements at least monthly. Watch for unauthorized withdrawals and debits.
- Check credit card statements at least monthly. Watch for unauthorized charges.
- Check your free credit report three times a year. Watch for unrecognized entries.
- Act quickly!
- Contact your bank or credit card company and report it.
- Close the accounts you know the thief has accessed or get new account numbers.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- Place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports.
- File a police and keep a copy. Creditors may want proof of the crime.
- Call the Missouri Attorney General’s Identity Theft hotline at 1-800-392-8222.