One of the most dramatic increases is in crimes of a financial nature, specifically, identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone obtains a person's identifying information, such as name, address, and date of birth, social security number, or mother's maiden name. Using this information illegally, an imposter can open new credit card accounts, drain our bank accounts, purchase automobiles, apply for loans, open utility services, etc. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Is it the number one consumer fraud complaint with over ten million victims each year. Current statistics show that one in four Americans will become victims in the next year.
What To Do If You Are A Victim
- Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus. Request that a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and include a statement that creditors must get your permission before any new accounts are opened in your name. The three major credit bureaus are: EQUIFAX 1-800-525-6285; EXPERIAN 1-888-397-3742; and TRANS UNION 1-800-680-7289.
- Contact all the creditors involved. Let them know that your account may have been used without your permission, or that new accounts have been opened in your name.
- File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of a crime.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC can assist you with additional information and maintains a database of identity theft cases for use by law enforcement agencies.
- File a fraud report with them by calling the Identity Theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338 Keep a record of your contacts.
- Start a file with copies of your credit reports, police report, any additional correspondence, and copies of disputed bills.