Deterring Identity Theft

Deterring Identity Theft
Deterring Identity Theft
The evolving threats of Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million
Americans have their identities stolen each year.
Identity theft complaints increased 22 percent from 2007 to 2008
(Javelin 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report)
The average consumer costs of identity fraud were $496 per
incident in 2008 (Javelin 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report)
Industry estimates put the total cost of identity fraud at $48 billion
in 2008 (2009 Javelin Strategy & Research)
You or a family member could become a victim of identity theft. This pamphlet can
help protect you and members of your family against the damaging effect identity
crimes can have on the victim. This pamphlet includes:
• What identity theft is and how it impacts all Americans
• Ways to lessen the likelihood you or a family member will be a victim of
identity theft
• Tools to utilize if you or a family member becomes a victim of identity theft
Identity theft occurs when an individual’s Social Security Number (SSN), credit card
account number, driver’s license number, bank account number or other personal
identifier is captured and used to open new accounts, take over existing accounts,
apply for loans, initiate services, access government benefits or commit other
Identity theft has grown along with advancements in computers, scanners, digital
copiers and desktop publishing. The most common type of identity theft is credit
card fraud. Other motives for identity theft include obtaining employment, access
to healthcare benefits, evading law enforcement, concealing a criminal history,
obtaining a driver’s license and circumventing citizenship requirements.
Protecting your information and good name
Many victims do not learn their identity has been stolen until they have a loan
or credit application denied, or bill collectors confront them. Protect yourself by
reviewing your credit reports. Credit reports are a valuable tool for identifying
identity theft. By reviewing your credit report you can also identify errors that can
adversely impact your credit standing. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your
credit report once every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting agencies
(CRAs) — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Free annual credit reports can be ordered in any of three ways:
By calling
By writing:
Annual Credit Report
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
• Scrutinize your credit report to verify all personal and credit information is correct
• Look for accounts you didn’t open, unexplained charges on valid accounts, unfamiliar
addresses and number of inquiries
• Take note of who is asking about you
• Act in writing to ensure inaccurate data is removed or corrected and send a copy to
each creditor and CRA involved
• Direct the CRA to remove all inquiries generated due to the item
• Notify anyone who received a copy of the report in the past six months that the item is
being disputed
ALERT: Credit reports can be ordered online at Be aware of sites that
charge for this free service.
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tips for detecting, preventing and mitigating identity theft
Guard against phishing and other
online schemes by not opening or
responding to suspicious e-mails
ven if an unsolicited e-mail looks
authentic, it may not be. Regardless of
the story or alleged urgency, exercise
extreme caution when asked to reveal
personal data. If data must be provided
for a valid reason, confirm the site
displays a closed padlock icon and that
you see a secure session verified by https.
Invest in firewall/anti-virus software
to protect valuable data on your
Ensure security patches are up to date.
Use complex passwords and encryption,
and do not store sensitive data on the
hard drive. Always log out when you
access your account online.
Remove your personal data before
donating or selling a used computer
either by using an erasing application
or destroying the hard drive
Hitting the delete key does not make the
data disappear. It remains on the hard
drive and is recoverable. Erasing software
must be used to sanitize the hard drive,
or the hard drive must be physically
removed and destroyed.
Use caution when accessing sites
or downloading software
Malware, trojans and botnets are all
techniques fraudsters use to infect your
PC or website with the goal of collecting
and misusing sensitive information. Home
computers are vulnerable to malware
attacks unless protection is deployed.
Protect your ATM account
Only use trusted networks, and be alert
for devices used for intercepting your
account information (skimmers), hidden
cameras and shoulder surfers.
• Don’t share your PIN
• Don’t use your PIN for multiple accounts
• Don’t use easily identifiable sequences
for your PIN (e.g. birthdates, last four
digits of the card)
• Don’t keep your PIN with the card
• Immediately contact the issuer if an
ATM fails to return your card.
Avoid disclosing personal
information to strangers who could
contact you on the phone, in
writing, via e-mail or in person
Even if the recipient is known to you and
reputable, don’t reveal financial and other
sensitive information without knowing
how it will be used.
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tips for detecting, preventing and mitigating identity theft
Avoid putting payments, completed
applications or any documents with
personal information in your mailbox
ne out of every 80 American households
has mail stolen every year. Take outbound
mail to the post office, give it to the mail
carrier or deposit it in a postal collection
box. Promptly retrieve delivered mail.
Temporarily stop mail deliveries when
you are away. Watch your billing cycles to
monitor if statements are overdue.
Be careful when you leave your
checkbook, wallet, purse or laptop
in an unattended vehicle
Be extra careful at golf courses, health
clubs, jogging paths and places where
thieves know valuables may be left
unattended in vehicles. These items should
be placed in your trunk or out of sight.
Remove unnecessary credit cards
and other items from your wallet
or purse
Many Americans carry their SSNs in
one form or another on their person.
Remove Social Security cards, PINs,
passwords, receipts, credit cards and
items that don’t need to be carried all
of the time. Photocopy the front and
back of credit cards and other numbered
identifiers. Keep the photocopies in a safe
place that can be easily accessed if the
wallet or purse is lost or stolen.
Request free credit reports for
minor children
The credit report will show if any
fraudulent activity has occurred under the
minor child’s name. Report any fraudulent
activity to the credit reporting agencies.
Shred documents containing
personal information
An average household receives one
unsolicited credit card offer, balance
transfer or convenience check each week.
Many of these are thrown away intact.
Identity crimes can begin with items
scavenged from the trash. Shred tax
worksheets, credit card offers, statements
and checks. A cross shredder is the most
effective means of home shredding.
Protect your driver’s license
Do not print your driver’s license or SSN
number on your checks. If your state
uses your SSN for your driver’s license
number, request that an alternate number
be assigned.
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tips for detecting, preventing and mitigating identity theft
Review financial records promptly
earch for unknown charges,
unauthorized accounts or other flags
that could indicate identity theft.
Take steps after the death of a
family member
Notify credit card companies, financial
institutions and other creditors in writing
of the death of a family member and
request the accounts be closed.
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Important contact
Identity Theft Contact Checklist
To mitigate damage to your credit and good name, the
following entities should be notified as soon as an identity
theft crime is know or suspected to have occurred:
Credit Reporting
1. Local Law Enforcement Agency
• Request that a case be opened
• Obtain a copy of the police report
2. Credit Card Issuer(s)
• Close accounts where fraud has occurred
or may occur
• Open new accounts with new passwords
or PINs
To report fraud:
To report fraud:
To report fraud:
Federal Trade Commission:
Fraud hotline:
Social Security
Fraud hotline:
NOTE: Phone numbers for the nearest FBI
and U.S. Postal Inspection Service field
offices, as well as other federal, state and
municipal government agencies, can be
found in the blue section at the front of
your local telephone directory.
3. Financial Institution(s)
• Close ATM/Debit accounts where fraud has
occurred or may occur
• Close checking, savings, and other accounts
where fraud has or might occur
• Alert recipients to the situation and arrange
alternate payment for any valid checks that
have been written
• Open new accounts with new passwords
or PINs
4. C
redit Reporting Bureau Fraud Units
• Notify one of the three bureaus to request
and review a copy of your credit report
• Initiate a fraud alert or victim’s statement
as appropriate
5. Federal Trade Commission Fraud Hotline
• File a report
• Request a copy of the FTC fraud affidavit
6. Others (if applicable)
• US Postal Inspection Service
ocial Security Administration
tate driver’s license bureau
• U.S. Dept of State Passport Office
• Internal Revenue Service
tock brokers and mutual fund or
retirement account managers
• Medicare/Medicaid
© 2009 Deluxe Enterprise Operations, Inc. All rights reserved.
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