In simple terms, identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Read on for tips from University of Maryland Global Campus on protecting your identity.
Following are tips to help you protect your personal information from identity thieves.
Identity thieves use many tricks to steal your information at the ATM. Some will attempt to take a photo of your credit or debit card while you are standing at the ATM; some may put illegal card readers over the ATM’s reader to steal your information. When using an ATM, take the following precautions:
Act quickly! If you find an unauthorized charge on any of your accounts, make sure you contact your creditor's fraud department immediately. You typically have 60 days from when you receive your billing statement with the fraudulent charge to initiate an investigation.
Make sure you also monitor your credit. You should notify at least one agency of your stolen identity. By law, the contacted agency will then need to notify the other two that your account has been flagged for identity theft. Follow up with the credit reporting agency to ensure no new fraudulent claims are placed on your account.
If you believe someone is using your bank account illegally, contact your bank immediately to close your account. Also, ask them to notify their check verification service; this will prevent retailers form honoring checks written on this account.
Once you have gathered evidence from your claims, you should contact your local law enforcement agency to file a report. You may also want to contact your state’s attorney general’s office for consumer fraud information.