Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling.
Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person's personal identifying information.
Often, identity thieves will use another person's personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother's maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans.
They may obtain this information by:
Credit unions often offer their members identity theft protection for their accounts, as well as resources to help recognize and prevent identity theft.
Contact your local credit union to learn more about the identity theft services it may offer.
If you want to remove your name from many national direct mail lists, send your name and address to:
If you want to reduce the number of telephone solicitations from many national marketers, send your name, address, and telephone number to:
Identity theft protection services can help you monitor your accounts. They can place fraud alerts or freezes on your credit reports or remove your name from marketing mailing lists. Many people find it valuable and convenient to pay a company to keep track of their financial accounts, credit reports, and personal information. Other people choose to do this on their own for free. Before you pay for a service, evaluate it and its track record before you pay any fees.
Identity theft protection companies may help you:
An identity theft victim can
place a fraud alert or renewal for free.
Some companies, including consumer reporting agencies, offer subscriptions to credit monitoring services. These services track your credit report, and generally send you an email about recent activity, like an inquiry or new account. The more frequent or more detailed the report, the more expensive the service.
Some companies offer services to help you rebuild your identity after a theft. Typically, you give these services a limited power of attorney, which allows them to act on your behalf when dealing with consumer reporting agencies, creditors, or other information sources.
Many companies offer additional services, including removing your name from mailing lists or pre-screened offers of credit or insurance, representing your legal interests, “guaranteeing” reimbursement in the event you experience a loss due to identity theft, or helping you track down whether your personal information has been exposed online.