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What you need to know about preventing and fixing identity theft

Identity theft can happen at any time to anyone and there are several ways that identity thieves can steal your personal information.

As the book “Street Smarts” details, identity theives can steal your identity by

  • Copying your credit/debit card number when you present it for payment.
  • Pretending to be your bank or other business account requesting “confirmation” of your personal ID (“phishing”).
  • Setting up fake websites with the hope you’ll supply personal information.
  • Getting into your mailbox or trash or steal your wallet.
  • Filing change of address forms with a bank or vendor so that invoices with your account information are diverted.

By using secure sites, shredding unneeded personal information and invoices and using caution when presenting your personal information, you can help prevent identitiy theft. But what should you do if your identity is stolen? Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Cancel your credit and debit cards. 
  • Contact Experian, Transunion and Equifax and put a fraud alert on your account.
  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and have your drivers license number flagged.
  • Register with a credit monitoring service.
  • File an Identity Theft Report.

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