DMJ explores Identity Theft in a three-part blog series. “Identity Theft – Be Aware, Prepare, and Take Care” will address common types of theft, how to protect yourself, and what to do if your identity is stolen. 

Identity theft can cause you to be denied college financial aid, auto loans, apartment rentals, home purchases, credit cards, life insurance, employment based on false medical history or criminal record, etc. It can also cause you to lose your driver’s license and can ruin your career.

OTHER PREVENTION TIPS:

  • Photocopy your passport; when traveling internationally, take a close-up photo of the country stamp in your passport and another photo of you holding the passport open showing the stamp, and email the photos to yourself.
  • Notify your credit card company if you are planning to travel out of state or out of the country.
  • Don’t let anyone in a store or restaurant take your credit card out of your sight.
  • Ask your bank for an ATM card instead of a combination ATM/debit card.
  • Purchase a protective wallet for RFID skimmer protection.
  • Order and review a copy of your Social Security Earnings & Benefits Statement annually (www.ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213).
  • Don’t set the “home” address button on your GPS to be your home address — use a familiar intersection or place of business near your home instead; hide and protect car registration and insurance information.
  • Remove your GPS and its windshield suction mount and store it out of sight when you park in public place.
  • Pay cash whenever possible, including restaurants.
  • Place a credit (security) freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit report and make it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name — fees range from $5 to $10 (Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian: 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289).

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IDENTITY IS STOLEN:

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report; an initial fraud alert is good for 90 days (Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;Experian: 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289).
  • Order and review your credit report from all three credit reporting companies; report any mistakes or signs offraud to the credit reporting company.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338).
  • File a police report in your home town and in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred; be sure to get a copy ofthe police report.
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  • Change all your passwords.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  • Internal Revenue Service 
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Department of Justice ID Theft
  • Center for Identity Management & Info Protection (CIMIP)

For additional resources, visit DMJ’s fraud detection and prevention webpage for more information about DMJ fraud services.  

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