What is Identity Theft?
IDENTITY THEFT—Identity theft is a serious crime. Clearing up the damage of stolen personal information can cost substantial time and money, and persons affected by identity theft risk damage to their credit and reputation. Sometimes, the consequences of identity theft have been severe including lost job opportunities and denial of credit. Some victims have been arrested for crimes that they did not commit.
By conducting everyday activities, consumers leave information providing opportunities for a thief to steal their identity: writing a check, renting a car, applying for credit or charging tickets to a sporting event. Through activities like these, you reveal personal information like: your bank and credit card account numbers, your income, your Social Security number, your name, address and telephone number. This information, if stolen, may be used to commit fraud or theft.
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information, for example, they may:
Steal your mail.
Steal your wallet or purse.
Complete a “change of address” form to redirect your mail to another location
Rummage through your trash
Collect your information through e-mail or telephone by pretending to be from a legitimate company.
Identity Theft Victims: Immediate Action Steps
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps as soon as possible, and keep records of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
Contact your account representative at Highland Commercial Bank, 678-569-4250 to secure your bank accounts.
Place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports, and add a “victim’s statement” to your file requesting that creditors contact you before opening new accounts in your name.
Close the accounts that you know, or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call and speak to someone in the security or fraud department. Follow up in writing sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
File a “miscellaneous incidents” report at a police station where the identity theft occurred, and get a copy of the police report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint online at: www.ftc.gov/idtheft; call 1-877-438-4338 or write to: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
If you know or suspect that your mail has been stolen, contact the United States Postal Service.
Keep detailed records of any theft of your identity and your efforts to resolve it. Log the date, time and amount of unauthorized transactions.
Log the date, time, duration and cost of any telephone calls. Log the date and cost of any mailings and keep copies for your records.
Helpful Contacts in the event of Identity Theft:
* Contact the fraud departments at each of the three credit reporting agencies:
Equifax - 1-800-525-6285, Post Office Box 740241, Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
Experian - 1-888-397-3742, Post office Box 9532, Allen, Texas 75013
TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
Fraud Victim Assistance Division Post Office Box 6790, Fullerton, California 92834-6790.
* Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov/idtheft, 1-877-438-4338.
Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580.
* United States Postal Service - your local post office.
* Your local police department.
* Request not to receive further preapproved offers of credit by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT
* Ask to be removed from national direct mail lists by writing to the DMA
Mail Preference Service, Post Office Box 643, Carmel, New York 10512
or online: www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html. Include your name and address,
* Register with the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222
or going online at http://www.donotcall.gov/.