· Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a form of fraud in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name.
· Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Victims
· According to the California Office of Privacy Protection, in the US in 2009 there were more than 11 million victims of identity theft; more than one million were from California.
Who are the Victims of Identity Theft?
· Victims of identity theft include people of all ages, societal, educational and economic backgrounds.
· There are two types of identity theft victims:
o Identity theft victim’s personal information was stolen
o Identity of victim has been associated with a criminal record
How Does Identity Theft Occur?
· Dumpster Diving:
o Identity thieves steal personal information using dumpster diving, where they rummage through trash looking for bills or other papers with personal information on it.
o They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
o They pretend to be financial institutions or companies, and they send span or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
· Changing your address
o They divert your billing statement to another location by completing a “change of address” form.
o They steal wallets and purses, mail, including bank or credit card statements; pre-approval credit card offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
What To Do If You Think You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft?
· Report the fraud to the three major credit bureaus:
o Experian: 888-397-3742
o Equifax: 800-535-6285
o TransUnion: 800-680-7289
· Report the Crime to Police
· Request Information on Fraudulent Accounts
· Write to the credit bureaus
· Request additional free credit reports
· See the Office of Privacy Protection Checklist for more information
7. Federal Trade Commission: