Identity Theft

The illicit procurement and use of an identity that is not your own.

    Identity theft refers to a broad category of what can be termed "privacy crimes." It can include the theft of a Social Security number, identification card, drivers license, credit card, debit card, or even a calling card.   

How does it happen?

    Identity thieves will go to any length to gather the information they need to make money from your name.  From the low-tech approach of "dumpster-diving," digging through trash to unearth discarded material containing I.D. information, credit card statements and offers, to high-tech computer invasions. Other criminals gather information by looking over your shoulder to get any personal numbers.

    Social engineering is another method used by strangers to obtain the information they need to steal your indentity through casual conversation.  Otherwise innocent sounding questions form a string of information that can be pieced together  to the thieves advantage. 

    The Internet puts all the information an identity thief needs within easy reach of a knowledgeable crook with a computer. A variety of legitimate services used every day can be accessed to acquire all the background information needed to take over your identity.

How can you safeguard your identity? These tips can help.

If you feel you have been a victim of Identity Theft...

    File a report with your local police department and The Rockland County Sheriff's Office and get a copy of the report.

    Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Advise them that you believe you are a victim of identity theft.  Request that a "Fraud Alert" be placed in your file and that creditors must call you before opening any new accounts or changing existing accounts.

    Contact any creditor that may have been tampered with and speak with the fraud department or someone in security. Be sure to follow up with a letter.

    Maintain accurate records of everything you have done to clear up your credit. Include phone records and any correspondence.

Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Website

Equifax

Credit Reports: 1-800-685-1111
Reporting Fraud: 1-800-525-6285
http://www.equifax.com/home/en_us

Experian

Credit Reports: 1-888-397-3742
Reporting Fraud: 1-888-397-3742
http://www.experian.com/

TransUnion

Credit Reports: 1-800-916-8800
Reporting Fraud: 1-800-680-7289
http://www.transunion.com/