In recent years, it has become very easy for others to gain access to your personal information and to use it to do such things as open credit card accounts in your name, steal your wages, use your calling card to make long distance telephone calls, etc. There are a number of steps you should take to help minimize your risk:
- Regularly check your credit record by contacting each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
- If your bills do not arrive on time, check with your creditors.
- Be careful about giving personal information over the phone where someone can hear you.
- Tear up all credit card offers and other items containing personal information before putting them in the trash.
- On your computer - keep your virus protection updated, use a firewall, use a secure browser, keep minimal personal records on the computer, and when getting rid of a computer, delete all personal information.
- If someone requests personal information over the phone, give only on an "as needed" basis. Ask them to request it in writing.
- Check your monthly statements carefully.
- Maintain accurate and current financial records.
- If you lose a credit or debit card or if you suspect fraud, notify the company, close the account, and open a new account with new passwords.
If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you:
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union, see contact information below. Tell them to flag your account with a fraud alert to creditors. Ask them for a copy of your credit report, and review the reports carefully.
- Contact creditors for any accounts that have been the subject of fraud. Speak to someone in the security or fraud department. Follow this up in writing by sending a letter describing what has happened.
- File a report with your local police. Keep a copy of the police report in case your creditors need proof of the crime.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT, by mail at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 or online at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, Texas 75013
Federal Trade Commission
Social Security Administration
Federal Communications Commission
(for fraud involving cellular phones and long distance)
online complaint form at
US Postal Inspection Service
(for mail theft)
Internal Revenue Service
(for tax fraud)
Crime Victim Fraud Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, California 92834-6790
This site is meant for the exclusive use of students enrolled at Baylor University. This site was written for informational purposes only and should NOT be relied upon as legal advice. Individuals should seek the advice of an attorney regarding specific legal problems. This site contains general information about Texas law, and does not apply to any other state.
There is no warranty made that the material within this site is accurate, or that it is completely free of errors. Students should verify statements and NOT rely upon them as legal advice.