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Identity Theft

Have you ever wished you were someone else? Or that someone else would just be you for today – take that physics test or go to work for you?

Unfortunately, there are people who want to take over parts of your life, but you won't enjoy the experience. Identity thieves steal your personal information and use it to buy things in your name and generally ruin your credit. (You get stuck with the bills but never get the stuff!)

Identity thieves steal your personal information and use it to commit fraud or theft. Strangers or even someone you know could take out a credit card in your name and charge things that you'll end up getting the bill for. Maybe thieves will clean out your savings or checking accounts or take out a loan in your name.

Personal information that could be used to steal your identity include your:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Date of birth.
  • Social Security number.
  • Driver's license number.
  • Bank account numbers.
  • Credit card numbers.
  • Passwords and PINs.
  • E-mail addresses and screen names.

Thieves might use your personal information to:

  • Acquire a loan in your name.
  • Authorize electronic funds transfers from your bank or retirement accounts.
  • Charge purchases to your credit card accounts.
  • Open new bank accounts in your name.
  • Obtain a driver's license or passport with your name and their picture.
  • Make money by selling it to others.

The best way to keep your identity from being stolen is to protect this information as much as possible:

  • Remove mail from your mailbox promptly and send any mail through official drop boxes.
  • Shred all mail and papers with your personal information on it.
  • Don't share your bank account or credit card information with anyone.
  • Be careful giving out information online or responding to e-mails.
  • Restrict the people who can see your information on social networking sites.
  • Check account activity (paper or electronic) often.
  • Get yearly credit reports and review the information.
  • Opt out from preapproved credit and insurance offers you didn't ask for by calling (888) 5-OPT OUT or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.
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