Identity Theft - UCI Police Department

Identity Theft - UCI Police Department
Identity theft is a serious crime and it happens
when someone steals your personal information
and uses it without your permission. It’s the fastest
growing crime in the U.S., with more than 12
million victims each year.
It not only disrupts your finances, credit history,
reputation, but it also takes time, money, and
patience to resolve.
1. Don’t carry your Medicare card in your wallet
You may make a copy of your Medicare card and block out
the last four digits of your Social Security number in case
you lose your wallet.
2. Be wary of requests for information by phone
Seniors are often the
target of phone scams.
Don’t respond to
incoming phone calls
requesting personal
information. Even though
the number appears
legitimate, do your due
diligence and verify the
number before returning a call.
3. Secure your information
Don’t carry more personal documents than necessary with
you when you leave the house. Leave all important
documents in a locked security box at home or another
secure location.
4. Shred it
Shred anything you don’t need to keep, such as documents
that contain account information, Social Security numbers,
PINs, or sensitive information.
5. Protect your computer
Install antivirus software, anti-spyware, and firewall software
to prevent cyber-programs that steal personal information.
Consult with a network professional to ensure your computer
system is secure.
6. Be vigilant when travelling
When you’re out of town or out of the
country, consider purchasing a portable
router to create your own private Wi-Fi
hotspot so you can safely use your
laptop, tablet, or smartphone while on
the road.
Identity fraud has many aspects to think about. From
credit card scams to compromised websites, you truly
have to be vigilant anywhere you go.
7. Check your credit regularly
Many seniors don’t think about
checking their credit since they’re often not in the market to
borrow money for a house or car. You should request a free
credit report via on an annual
Revised 1/10/14
UC Irvine Police Department
150 Public Services Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4900
(949) 824-5223
Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring
Defend against ID Theft as soon as you suspect it
your financial accounts and billing statements
 Shred financial documents and paperwork with
personal information before you discard them.
 Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your
Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social
Security number on a check.
 Don’t give out personal information on the phone,
through the mail, or over the internet unless you
know who you are dealing with.
 Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
 Keep your personal information in a
secure place at home, especially if
you have roommates.
 You see unexpected withdrawals from your bank account.
 Debt collectors contact you
about debt that’s not yours.
 You discover unfamiliar
accounts on your credit report.
 You’re notified by the IRS that
more than one tax return was
filed in your name.
 Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
 You receive credit cards you didn’t apply for.
never received.
Now that you’ve placed an initial fraud alert, you’re
entitled to a free credit report from each of the three
credit reporting companies.
your mother’s maiden name or your birthday.
 The number of identity theft incidents has reached
9.9 million a year.
looking for bill or other paper with your personal
information on it.
 Phishing | They pretend to be financial institutions
or government agencies, and send emails to get
you to reveal personal information.
 Hacking | They hack into your email or other
online accounts to access your personal
information, or into a company’s database to
access its records.
 “Old-Fashioned” Stealing | They steal wallets and
purses; mail, including bank and credit card
statements; and pre-approved credit offers.
 Experian: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
 Transunion: (800) 680-7289
 Equifax: (800) 525-6285
 Bills or collection notices for products or services you
 Don’t use an obvious password like
 Dumpster Diving | They rummage through trash
Place a ‘Fraud Alert’ on your credit reports and review
the reports carefully. The alert informs creditors to
follow certain procedures before they open new
accounts in your name or make changes to your
existing accounts. Call one of the three nation wide
consumer reporting companies below to plan an initial
90-day fraud alert.
 Every minute 19 people fall victim to identity theft.
 It takes the average victim an estimated $500 and
30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime.
If you know which of your accounts have been
tampered with:
 Contact the related businesses
 Speak with someone in the fraud department
and follow up in writing
 Send your letters by certified mail; ask for a
return receipt as this creates a record of your
 Most victims do not learn about the theft of their
identity until months after it has occurred.
 Victims who discovered identity theft within the first
month spent fewer than 10 hours resolving the
 Only 1 in 10 victims report they were aware that
their personal information had been taken before
discovering they were victims of identity theft.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your
report helps law enforcement officials across the
country in their investigations.
 Online:
 By Phone: (877) ID-THEFT (438-4338)
 By Mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, • Federal
Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580
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