What is Identity Theft? Where Does the Navigating through the system as an identity theft
victim can be a lengthy and confusing process. As Step 2
Contact the fraud
department of each of
Information About you contact law enforcement, creditors, and
financial institutions, it is important that you keep
Identity theft is the criminal use of an individual’s
personal identification information. Identity thieves Me Come From? track of the actions you take. Report the incident to each creditor, even if your
account at that institution has not been tampered
steal information such as your name, Social Many places! You do not need to lose your wallet When your identity is with.
Security number, driver license information, or bank or have anything tangible stolen in order for stolen your personal
and credit card accounts and use the information identifiers can be Follow up in writing immediately.
someone to steal your identity.
to establish credit, make purchases, apply for loans misused in a variety of
or even seek employment. By simply failing to shred your confidential different ways. As
Step 3 Contact your bank or
information, utility bills, credit card slips and other soon as you become
The statistics are documents, it is easy for an financial institution.
aware that your
staggering. According to identity thief to “Dumpster If your checks have been stolen, or if you believe
information has been
the Federal Trade dive” your garbage and they have been used, contact your bank or credit
misused, there are several basic steps you should
Commission (FTC), Florida retrieve your most personal union and stop payment right away.
take that apply to nearly all kinds of identity theft
was ranked fifth in the identifying information. cases: Call SCAN at 1-800-262-7771
nation for identity theft in
2006, with 17,780 reported In addition, if an identity to learn if bad checks have
victims and 25,902 cases of fraud reported. thief were to illegally Report the incident to the been passed in your name.
obtain your credit report, Step 1 fraud department of the
Identity thieves often steal thousands of dollars If you suspect your accounts
they would have all the three major credit bureaus.
from unsuspecting victims, in the victim’s own have been compromised,
information necessary to become you.
name, without the victim knowing about the fraud 1. Ask the credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” cancel your checking and
for months or sometimes years. You should also know that much of your identify- on your credit report. savings accounts and obtain
ing information is readily available on the Internet, new account numbers.
or even at your local courthouse, where it is 2. Order copies of your credit reports and review
accessible by filing a public records request. for fraud.
How Does Identity Equifax
Report the incident to law
Theft Occur? www.equifax.com
To order your report: 1-800-685-1111
All that is needed is a little information. Armed with What Can I Do? To report fraud: 1-800-525-6285
Contact your local police department or sheriff’s
this identifying information the identity thief can TDD: 800-255-0056
office to file a report. Under Florida law, the report
apply in person for instant credit, or through the Florida’s Identity Theft Resource and Response TransUnion may be filed in the location in which the offense
mail by posing as you. Often, an identity thief will center is a good place to start. This resource www.transunion.com occurred or the city or county in which you reside.
provide their own address (claiming to have moved) provides exhaustive information regarding how to To order your report: 1-800-888-4213
in an effort to prolong the fraud. Negligent credit When you file the report, provide as much
prevent ID theft, as well as a step-by-step To report fraud: 1-800-680-7289
grantors, in their rush to issue credit, do not verify documentation as possible, including copies of
walkthrough for reporting victimization and TDD: 877-553-7803
information or addresses. Once the impostor opens debt collection letters, credit reports, and your
rebuilding credit. Experian
the first account, they can use this new account, notarized ID Theft Affidavit.
Florida’s Identity Theft Victim Kit, www.experian.com
along with the other Request a copy of the
www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft provides To order your report: 1-888-EXPERIAN(397-3742)
identifying police report. Some
everything from contact information for the three To report fraud: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
information to bolster creditors will request
major credit bureaus, to standard affidavits. TDD: 800-972-0322
their credibility and to see the report to
obtain even more This kit is designed to help you through the remove the debts
credit in your name. process of resolving your identity theft case and created by the identity
clearing your name. thief.
What else can I do? Theft
Reduce your chances of being a victim of
identity theft by remaining vigilant in all financial
File a complaint with the FTC’s Identity history files and provide you with a Compromised matters and taking precautions to protect your
Theft Clearinghouse Identity Certificate. Contact FDLE at 850-410-8880. personal identifiers.
The Clearinghouse is the federal government’s Remove your personal identifiers from 1. Order and closely review copies of your credit
repository for ID theft complaints. Information is report from each national credit reporting agency
Florida court records
entered into a central database which is accessed once a year.
Any person has the right to request the Clerk of
by many local and state law enforcement agencies
the Circuit Court to redact/remove his or her Social 2. Reconcile your financial statements (bank and
in Florida, as well as Florida’s Attorney General, for
Security number, bank account number, credit, credit card) on a monthly basis.
identity theft investigations. Call the toll-free
debit or charge card number from an image or copy
hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT. 3. Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and
of an Official Record that has been placed on such
www.ftc.gov/idtheft IDs. Close all unused credit card or bank
Clerk’s records, or in a court file. If you believe
Flag your Florida Driver License your personal information appears in a publicly
At your request, the Fraud Section of the available record, contact your County Clerk’s 4. Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Office. card receipts, bills, and other financial
will place a flag on your driver license if you are a information you don’t want before discarding
Report Mail Theft to the U.S. Postal
victim of identity theft (regardless of whether your them in the trash or recycling bin.
Florida Driver’s License has been compromised).
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will investigate 5. Only release your personal data to businesses
To reach the Fraud Section, call (850) 617-2405. that require it for action you have initiated. Never
if your mail has been stolen by an identity thief and
Get assistance through Florida’s Fraud was used to obtain new credit or commit fraud. give this information to unsolicited telephone
Hotline Incidents should be reported to your nearest U.S. callers or over the Internet.
Florida’s Attorney General provides a toll-free Postal Inspection Service district office. 6. Guard your passwords and PIN numbers
fraud hotline for Floridians who are the victims of closely.
Report Passport Fraud to the U.S.
fraud. Contact 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-
7226). Trained advocates can help provide
Department of State 7. Memorize your social security number and all
If your passport is lost or stolen or you believe it is passwords. Do not record them on any cards or
being used fraudulently, contact your local on anything in your wallet or purse.
Check your Florida criminal history Department of State field office. 8. Deposit outgoing mail in mail collection boxes
information or at your local post office.
Protect your Social Security number
In some instances of identity theft, a victim may be
The Social Security Administration can verify the 9. Contact your creditor or service provider if
faced with a criminal record for a crime he or she
accuracy of the earnings reported on your social expected bills don’t arrive.
did not commit. The Florida Department of Law
security number. To check for inaccuracies or
Enforcement can provide a Compromised Identity 10. Use caution when disclosing checking
fraud, order a copy of your Personal Earnings and
Review (based on a fingerprint comparison of state account numbers, credit card numbers, or other
Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES) from the Social
criminal history files). If a fingerprint check personal financial data at any web site or online
Security Administration. Call 1-800-772-1213 or visit
determines you are an identity theft victim, FDLE service location unless you receive a secured
will work with local law enforcement agencies to authentication key from your provider.
attempt to clear fraudulent data from the criminal
11. Don’t e-mail your personal data unless you
use encryption technology.