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Identity Theft Awareness

Prepared by Michael Dana and Andrea Prater, CFE

Definition: Identity theft occurs when someone appropriates your personal information to commit fraud or theft. Personal Information can include your name, date of birth, social security number, and driver’s license number.

TIPS FOR YOU TO REMEMBER

  • Minimize the amount of items with personal information in your wallet, purse or vehicle.
  • Check your mail everyday.
  • Shred any documents with your personal information including pre approved credit card applications.
  • Be aware of telephone, Internet, or door to door solicitations which claim to be legitimate entities in order to gain your confidence then manipulate you to obtain your personal information.
  • If you receive checks in the mail from any unknown party and you are required to wire transfer money in return (foreign lotteries, sweepstakes winner, mystery shopper, or through popular websites you have utilized) then you are likely to be a victim of financial fraud.
  • Lock up your financial documents, credit cards, and blank checkbooks in your residence.
  • Pay attention to billing cycles for statements that do not arrive in the mail.
  • Use a secure Internet connection online when entering and transmitting personal information.
  • Be reluctant to register with websites that request your personal information.
  • If you have been a victim of identity theft, consider getting a fraud alert (1-800-680-7289) or security freeze (888-909-8872).
  • Check your credit report periodically from the 3 major credit bureaus.
    www.equifax.com 
    www.transunion.com 
    www.experian.com 
    Free Credit Report from all 3 Credit Bureaus: 877-322-8228 or www.annualcreditreport.com

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Dallas Police Reports: 214-671-3345 or www.dallaspolice.net

Complaints against Public Utilities - PUC: www.puc.state.tx.us

Texas State Attorney General-Consumer Complaints: 1-800-252-8011

Treasury Department Tax Fraud: 972-308-1169

Better Business Bureau:  www.bbb.org

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft: www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-ID THEFT (438-4338)

FTC Do not call list: www.donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222

Non Profit organizations to assist victims: www.idtheftcenter.org

To Opt out of credit cards: www.optoutprescreen.com or 1-888-567-8688 

Free Antivirus Software for your computer: www.avast.com

Microsoft has free spy ware at their website: www.microsoft.com. Note: Your computer should have the firewall active and be set to receive automatic updates from Microsoft.  If you have wireless networks, make sure to set passwords and encrypt the network access.

Spybot free spyware program: www.safer-networking.org

Checking account reports: www.consumerdebit.com & www.firstdata.com/support/telecheck_home.htm

www.fakechecks.org - This website has reenactments of popular scams

Medicare Fraud: www.smpresource.org. Senior Medicare Patrols (SMPs) is an organization that empowers and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors and abuse (877) 808-2468.

Dateline “ To Catch an Identity Thief” Via NBCNews.com: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/dateline/17822423

Senior Citizen Resources: 
www.theseniorsource.org 
www.aarp.org


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