Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Teach your Children ways to protect themselves and you - from Identity Theft and Social Networking issues.

Looking for practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your information?

Looking for practical tips on how to talk to your children or providing your children with online resources to teach them about identity theft and protecting themselves?

Visit www.onguardonline.gov to find videos, games, and helpful hints on topics such as: mobile phone apps, social networking, clicking on links or attachments, wireless security, and much, much more!

Who Are You? Identity Thieves Really Want to Know

Take these steps to protect your personal information:

  • Shred financial documents and paperwork containing personal information before you discard them.
  • Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house. Or, consider using one of our convenient safe deposit boxes.
  • Subscribe to the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov
  • Opt out of receiving pre-approved credit solicitations by calling toll-free 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com for details.
  • Don't carry your Social Security card with you, unless you know you need it that day.
  • Don't carry credit cards or other identifying cards that you don't intend to use that day.
  • Photocopy the contents of your wallet (front and back) and keep it in a secure location. This will provide the card and contact information for your wallet contents should you lose your wallet.
  • Utilize wire transfer, Automated Clearing House, or official checks to transfer money. Never carry large amounts of cash.

If you believe you are a victim of Identity Theft, please contact the Security Department immediately at (607) 754-7900, ext. 10627 or ext. 10529.

Identity Fraud - General Information

Identity theft and identity fraud are two of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. They occur when someone gains access to another person's personal information, such as a driver's license number, and uses the information to commit fraud.

If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, here are some good tips:

Creditors - Write or call all of your creditors immediately. Request a replacement credit card with a new account number. Ask that old accounts be marked "account closed at consumer's request." Monitor your credit card statements for evidence of fraud and report it immediately to creditors. Creditors may ask you to fill out and notarize fraud affidavits; however the law does not require that a notarized affidavit be provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be sufficient.

Keep a Log - Of all conversations related to your identity fraud case, including:

  • Dates.
  • Names of people you talked to.
  • Telephone numbers of the agencies you called.
  • The time you spent on each conversation.
  • Expenses incurred.

Follow Up - All conversations with a written note, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies of all letters and documents.

Credit Bureaus - Immediately call the fraud units of each of the three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union ((LINK TO CONTACT INFO BELO)) - to report the theft or loss of your credit card(s).

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can ask the credit bureaus:

  1. To have your account flagged with a "fraud alert" and place a victim's statement in your file requiring creditors to call you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing account.
  2. For the names and telephone numbers of creditors if any fraudulent account(s) have been opened.
  3. To remove fraudulent entries from your credit report.
  4. To notify those entities that have received your credit report in the last six months to alert them to any disputed or erroneous information.
    Important: By law, victims of identity fraud are entitled to a free credit report once a year.

Law Enforcement - Report the identity fraud crime to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in your case. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Ask for a copy of your police report. Keep the telephone number of the fraud investigator handy because creditors may require you to submit a copy of the report in order to verify the crime.

Banks/Financial Institutions - If your checks are stolen or bank accounts are set up fraudulently in your name, report the fraud to the check verification companies((LINK BELOW TO CONTACT INFO)). Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you may not have written. Cancel your accounts and open new ones. If possible, give the bank a password for your account, other than your mother's maiden name.

ATM Cards - If your ATM card has been stolen or compromised, request a new card, account number, and password. Do not use your old password. When you create a new password, do not use numbers that are readily available, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number or your birth date.

Fraudulent Change of Address - Notify your local Postal Inspector if you suspect that someone has changed your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud. Contact your local Postmaster to have your mail sent to the correct address. Alert your mail carrier to the problem.

Social Security Number Misuse - Call the Social Security Administration at 800-269-0271 to report the fraudulent use of your Social Security number. The SSA will change your Social Security number if you meet the agency's fraud victim criteria. Also, call 800-772-1213 to order a copy of your Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy.

Credit Bureaus

  • Equifax: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Report fraud: Call 800-525-6285 and write to the above address.
  • Order credit reports: 800-685-1111.
  • Have your name removed from their marketing lists: 800-353-0809.
  • Experian: P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949
  • Report fraud: Call 888-397-3742 and write to the above address.
  • Order credit reports: 888-397-3742.
  • Have your name removed from their marketing lists: 800-353-0809.
  • Trans Union: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
  • Report fraud: Call 800-680-7289 and write to: Fraud Victim Assistance Division
  • P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634.
  • Order credit reports: 800-916-8800.
  • Have your name removed from their marketing lists: 888-567-8688.

To Remove Your Name from Mail and Phone Lists

Write to:
Direct Marketing Association

  • Mail Preference Association
  • P.O. Box 9008
  • Farmingdale, NY 11735
  • Telephone Preference Service
  • P.O. Box 9014
  • Farmingdale, NY 11735

To Report Fraudulent Use of Your Checks

Call:

  • CheckRite: 1-800-766-2748
  • Chexsystems: 1-800-428-9623
  • Equifax: 1-800-437-5120
  • ICS: 1-800-526-5380
  • SCAN: 1-800-262-7771
  • Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898

Additional Resources

You may obtain additional information about identity theft and fraud at these websites: