Identity Theft

ID thieves steal your —your social security number, account numbers, address, user names, passwords, etc.—and use it to run up credit card debt, empty your savings, set up phony utility accounts or commit any number of other frauds in your name.

Identity theft can be hard to spot. You may not even realize you're a victim until you're denied credit or contacted by a debt collector. By the time the creditors start calling the damage has been done. It can take hundreds of hours, several months or even years to fix your credit record, and in the meantime you may be denied loans or housing, pay higher insurance and interest rates or even miss out on job opportunities. Luckily, once you make a habit of guarding your personal information like the valuable commodity that it is, you dramatically reduce your odds of becoming a victim.

Signs That You May Be a Victim

  • You receive calls from debt collectors about debts you don't owe
  • You are surprised when your credit card is rejected
  • You are denied a car loan or some other form of credit or loan
  • You receive bills from accounts you didn't open
  • You find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report
  1. Federal Trade Commission, Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.