Identity Theft

A lesson in Identity Theft from the Bradley Police Department:

How can someone steal your Identity?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.

Identity Theft

How Identity Thieves get your personal information:

  • They steal wallets and purses containing your identification and credit and bankcards.
  • They steal your mail, including your bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, telephone calling cards and tax information.
  • They complete a "change of address form" to divert your mail to another location.
  • They rummage through your trash, or the trash of businesses, for personal data.

How Identity Thieves use your Personal Information:

  • They establish phone or wireless service in your name.
  • They open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
  • They file for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they've incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
  • They counterfeit checks or debit cards, and drain your bank account.
  • They buy cars by taking out auto loans in your name.

Minimize Your Risk

  • Don’t carry your SSN card; leave it in a secure place.
  • Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  • Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  • Carry only the identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you’ll actually need.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks

If You Become a Victim

  • Report crime to police.
  • If checks are involved, close account immediately and have a new account number issued.
  • Fill out an Affidavit of Forgery with bank.
  • If credit cards are stolen, contact all card companies, and have the old accounts processed as Account closed at customer request.
  • Call the three credit reporting companies and have your account flagged and add a Victims Statement to your report.
    Credit Reporting Bureaus:
    Equifax (800) 685-1111
    Experian (888) 397-3742
    Trans Union (800) 916-8800 AND/OR
    Social Security (800) 269-0271