Identity Theft Information

This site contains information on how to protect yourself from identity theft, what to do to if your personal information is exposed, and information to help you if you are a victim of identity theft.  Links to additional resources are proveded at the bottom of the page.

What is Identify Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information such as name, Social Security number, driver's license number, credit card number or other identifying information to take on that person's identity in order to commit fraud or other crimes.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
The following tips can help lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

  • Protect your Social Security number.   Don’t carry your Social Security card or other cards that show your SSN.  Read, "Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number"
  • Use caution when giving out your personal information.   Scam artists "phish" for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in e-mails and in postal mail.  Click here for more information about Phishing.
  • Treat your trash carefully.  Shred or destroy papers containing your personal information including credit card offers and “convenience checks” that you don’t use.
  • Protect your postal mail.  Retrieve mail promptly.   Discontinue delivery while out of town.
  • Check your bills and bank statements.  Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don’t arrive on time. It may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges.
  • Check your credit reports.   Review your credit report at least once a year.  Check for changed addresses and fraudulent charges.
  • Stop pre-approved credit offers.  Pre-approved credit card offers are a target for identity thieves who steal your mail. Have your name removed from credit bureau marketing lists. Call toll-free 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
  • Ask questions.  Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, don’t give your personal information.
  • Protect your computer.  Protect personal information on your computer by following good security practices.

Steps to Take if Your Data Becomes Compromised or Stolen

Credit Reporting Agencies - If you have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised or stolen, contact the Fraud Department of one of the three major credit bureaus listed below:

  • Equifax
    Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
    Fraud Division
    P.O. Box 740250
    Atlanta, GA 30374
    800-685-1111 / 888-766-0008
  • Experian
    Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
    Credit Fraud Center
    P.O. Box 1017
    Allen, TX 75013
    888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
  • Trans Union
    Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
    Fraud Victim Assistance Department
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92634
    Phone: 800-916-8800 / 800-680-7289

When contacting the Credit Reporting Agency, you should request the following:

  • Instruct them to flag your file with a fraud alert including a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name.
  • Ask them for copies of your credit report(s). (Credit bureaus must give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate because of suspected fraud.) Review your reports carefully to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts.
    NOTE: In order to ensure that you are issued free credit reports, we strongly encourage you to contact the agencies DIRECT LINE (listed above) for reporting fraud. We do not recommend that you order your credit report online.
  • Be diligent in following up on your accounts. In the months following an incident, order new copies of your reports to verify your corrections and changes, and to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
  • If you find that any accounts have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, close them immediately.  To ensure that you do not become responsible for any debts or charges, use the ID Theft Affidavit Form developed by the Federal Trade Commission to help make your case with creditors.
    Social Security Administration
    SSA Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271

If You Become A Victim of Identity Theft

Ifyou are the victim of a stolen Social Security number, the SSA can provide information on how to report the fraudulent use of your number and how to correct your earnings record. We encourage you to submit a Fraud Report immediately once you suspect identity theft.

IDTheft Clearinghouse
1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338)

Call the ID Theft Clearinghouse toll free at to report identity theft. Counselors will take your complaint and advise you how to deal with the credit-related problems that could result from identity theft. 

Local Law Enforcement
It is important that you report identity theft to your local police department as soon as you become aware that you are a victim. Get a copy of the police report which will assist you when notifying creditors, credit reporting agencies and if necessary, the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Additional Resources - The following links provide detailed information related to identity theft and protecting yourself.

Last Updated: 6/27/22