Identity Theft Protection: Your Questions Answered
At The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., we understand the complexities and concerns surrounding identity theft. With incidents on the rise, it's crucial to arm yourself with knowledge. Our Identity Theft FAQ aims to address your pressing questions and help you safeguard your personal information.
- How Can Someone Steal My Identity?
- How Do I Shield My Identity From Thieves?
- What Are My Risks of Identity Theft, and What Could Thieves Do With My Information?
- What Steps Should I Take Upon Realizing My Identity Has Been Stolen?
- Could I Be Held Liable for Crimes Committed Using My Identity?
- Is There Legislation That Directly Addresses Identity Theft?
- Where Can I Find More Information on Identity Theft?
Your identity can fall into the wrong hands via methods such as:
- Wallet theft
- Address change fraud
- Unshredded trash extraction
- Pretending to be an employer or landlord for credit reports
- Shoulder-surfing for PINs, sometimes with surveillance tools
- Telemarketing cons
- Computer hacking at businesses you trust
- Acts of revenge using your information, often by someone you know
With internet companies now offering detailed personal information for a fee, including Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, and credit histories, the risk is further amplified.
Vigilance is paramount when it comes to protecting your identity. Here are proactive measures you can take:
- Avoid carrying your Social Security card.
- Omit your Social Security number and driver's license number from checks.
- On checks, use initials rather than your full name.
- Prefer a P.O. Box or work address over your home address on checks.
- Use only the last four digits of credit card accounts when writing checks.
- Opt for a locking mailbox or one that directs mail inside your home.
- Send mail directly from the post office.
- Annually check your credit report and promptly address inaccuracies.
- Regularly update and memorize your passwords and PINs. Shred any written records.
- Examine financial statements meticulously for unfamiliar entries.
- Always retain credit card receipts and dispose of them securely.
- Shred unused pre-approved credit offers, particularly from unknown entities.
- Limit the sharing of personal information over the phone to calls you initiate.
- Be cautious when asked for your Social Security number and, if possible, seek alternatives.
- Pick up new check orders from the bank.
- Avoid placing personal details on computer profiles.
- If your personal information is online without consent, demand its removal.
Identity theft is a prolific issue; according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2003 report, it's the fastest-growing crime in America. Thieves could potentially open accounts, make purchases, acquire loans, rent properties, or even commit serious crimes, all under your name.
Immediate action is essential:
- Use the Federal Trade Commission's identity theft affidavit from www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
- File a police report to facilitate the dispute process with credit bureaus and financial institutions.
- Cancel all compromised cards and banking services.
- Notify credit bureaus, set fraud alerts, and request credit reports.
- Report stolen checks to your bank and appropriate agencies (Certegy, TeleCheck).
- Examine Social Security earnings statements for fraudulent activity.
- If your driver’s license is misused, seek a new license number.
- Assertively manage your case—don’t expect others to resolve it for you.
Monetarily, you may only be liable for minimal charges if any; nonetheless, the aftermath can be time-consuming and stressful, involving extensive dealings with various agencies. You may also experience legal difficulties if a criminal act is linked to your identity.
Certainly. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act qualifies identity theft as a federal felony, with further state laws delineating additional provisions. Consult www.consumer.gov/idtheft for a comprehensive list of applicable laws.
The following resources offer extensive guidance on identity theft:
- Federal government central website: www.consumer.gov/idtheft
- Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov, Call: 877-ID-THEFT
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: www.privacyrights.org
- Additional resources: www.identitytheft.org, California-specific: www.privacy.ca.gov
For personalized assistance and legal advice on identity theft matters, contact The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq. at 303-355-5148. Protect your peace of mind and your future by staying informed and proactive.