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Identity theft is still considered the fastest growing white collar crime in the nation.
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 is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, you should:
•File a police report.
•Contact the fraud units of the 3 major credit-reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your accounts.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
•Contact your bank and creditors
•Cancel any account that is the subject of the fraud or identity theft
•File a complaint with the FTC
•The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a hotline that provides valuable information - call toll free (877) ID-THEFT. FTC online
FTC's Guide to protecting your information, with instructions and sample letters to help identity theft victims.