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					    IDENTITY THEFT
To minimize your risk for identity theft requires diligence. Examine your
daily routine to determine if you are doing all you can to keep your
personal, financial, and confidential information personal. Just as with any
crime, there is no guarantee that identity theft won’t strike, but if you are
alert and evaluate each request for personal information, you can reduce
the risk. Following is information to help you develop a plan of action to
protect your personal identifying information. Resources are also provided
so you know what to do if you or someone you know becomes a victim of
identity theft.

Learn More:

•   Be ProActive

•   Control and Protect Your Privacy

•   Shred, Shred, Shred

•   Safe Computing

•   If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft

•   Identity Theft Resources




           If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
                presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                      Consumer Affairs
    IDENTITY THEFT
                                   Be ProActive
The Key to Minimizing Your Risk for Identity Theft is to Have a Plan of
                              Action

• Do not give out personal or financial information over the phone, through the mail,
  or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact. Government agencies or
  legitimate businesses will not contact you by phone or e-mail to request that you
  confirm, verify, or provide personal information.
• Give your Social Security Number only when it is absolutely necessary. Never
  provide this valuable number unless you know who you are dealing with, and know
  how it will be used and protected.
• Check all of your bills regularly for accuracy and immediately report any
  questionable or suspicious items. Be alert for charges or purchases you did not
  make.
• Obtain a copy of your credit report at least once each year from each of the major
  credit reporting companies. Get a copy of your free credit report at
                                               www.annualcreditreport.com.




•   Active Military should place an “active duty alert” in your credit report if deployed
    from your usual duty station. This alert requires creditors to verify your identity
    before granting credit in your name. Call the toll-free fraud number of one of the
    following credit reporting companies:
           o   Equifax:      1-800-525-6285
           o   Experian:     1-888-397-3742
           o   TransUnion:   1-800-680-7289
•   Do Not sign up for unfamiliar contests or sweepstakes. The information you
    provide could be sold and reproduced hundreds of times to commit fraud.
•   Keep a list or photocopy of all credit and debit cards and bank accounts in a safe
    place. This will help you quickly report the lost or thief of this valuable information.
•   Carry only the identification information and the credit or debit cards you need when
    you go out to limit your vulnerability should these items be loss or stolen.


               If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
                    presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                         Consumer Affairs
    IDENTITY THEFT
               Control and Protect Your Privacy
You can control how your personal and financial information is used by
companies who send you mail, e-mail, or call you on the phone. To
safeguard against the misuse of information, you can reduce unsolicited
sale pitches, control the number of credit offers you receive by mail,
remove your name from mailing lists, and report unsolicited spam at the
following links:

•   National Do Not Call Registry – Allows you to reduce the number
    of unsolicited telemarketing calls you receive.

• Opt-Out of marketing lists – To discontinue receiving
    prescreened offers for credit or insurance from lists generated from credit reporting
    companies.




•   Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service – Helps consumers
    decrease the amount of nationally generated commercial or nonprofit mail they
    receive at home.




•   Forward Unsolicited Spam to the Federal Trade Commission – Send a copy of
    unwanted or deceptive e-mail messages to the FTC. The e-mails you forward are
    reviewed and may be used to pursue law enforcement actions against people who
    send deceptive spam e-mail.




              If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
                   presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                        Consumer Affairs
IDENTITY THEFT

                       Shred, Shred, Shred

              When it is time to throw away personal, financial or
              confidential information, shred it to make sure it doesn’t
              end up in the hands of identity thieves.



•   Invest in a cross-cut shredder. Since it is technically possible to reassemble
    some shredded documents, make sure your shredder cuts documents in several
    directions so it will be difficult for identity thieves to piece back together your
    personal information.

•   Get a shredder that chops up CDS, DVDS, credit cards, staples, and paper clips
    if you store data on hard media.

•   When Disposing or Recycling Your Computer clear the hard drive of
    personal, financial, and confidential information. Use a "wipe" utility program to
    overwrite the entire hard drive. Deleting files using keyboard commands or
    reformatting your hard drive may not be enough because the files may stay on
    the computer's hard drive where they might be retrieved by strangers.

•   Shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms,
    medical statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards and
    credit offers you get in the mail before you discard them.

•   Review guidelines for what and when to shred.

•   Protect and Destroy your personal documents and protect our environment by
    recycling at Environmental Events sponsored by the Fairfax County Solid Waste
    Management Program.




          If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
               presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                    Consumer Affairs
    IDENTITY THEFT
                               Safe Computing
Be alert for online scammers that send thousands of unsolicited
e-mails, hackers who use the Internet to access computers without
permission, viruses that spread from computer to computer and
damage files and systems, and identity thieves that send pop-up
messages to “phish” for personal information.

•   Secure your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a
    firewall. Update them regularly.
•   Protect your passwords and keep them in a secure
    place. Don’t share them on the Internet, the phone, or
    over e-mail.
•   Change your passwords often. Avoid using the same
    password for multiple accounts. Use a combination of
    letters, numbers, and symbols.
•   Be Prudent when using wireless connections in public areas like airports, hotels,
    Internet cafes, and restaurants because your information may be intercepted to
    commit identity theft.
•   Use encryption software to secure your wireless connection at home.
•   Do not open files sent to you by strangers, click on hyperlinks or download
    programs from people you don't know.
•   Be careful with file-sharing programs. Opening these files could expose your
    system to a computer virus or "spyware," which can capture your passwords or any
    information you type into your keyboard.
•   Look for Web site privacy policies. Find out how they maintain the security and
    control of personal information collected on the site, how information collected will be
    used, and whether it will be provided to third parties. If you don't see a privacy policy,
    or don’t understand it, consider doing business somewhere else.
•   Back up important files stored on your computer. Copy them onto a removable disc,
    and store it in a safe and secure place.
              If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
                   presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                        Consumer Affairs
 IDENTITY THEFT
             If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft
Take the following steps to begin your recovery from Identity Theft.

  Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports if you suspect you might be a victim of
  identity theft or if you are a victim. This alert will aide in the prevention of further
  fraud. To place the alert, contact one of the following nationwide consumer reporting
  companies:

  Equifax:       800-525-6285

  Experian:       888-397-3742

  TransUnion: 800-680-7289

  Report the fraud to each creditor, bank, utility, or service that provided the
  identity thief with unauthorized credit, goods, or services.

  In Fairfax County, file a report with the Financial Crimes Section
  (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police) of the Fairfax County Police Department at
  703-246-7800. If the crime didn’t occur in Fairfax County, contact the police where
  the identity theft happened.

  File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT.

  Apply for an Identity Theft Passport from the Virginia Office of the Attorney
  General after you have filed a police report, or obtained a court order expunging a
  record because of an identity crime.

  Notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you suspect identity theft or other
  fraud through the U.S. mail at 1- 410-715-7700.

  Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-877-937-6372 to file a fraud report
  if your name and social security number are used by an identity theft to get a driver’s
  license or ID card.

  Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially the first year after the
  crime to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

             If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
                  presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                       Consumer Affairs
 IDENTITY THEFT
                  Identity Theft Resources

Department of Justice
http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Internet Fraud Complaint Center

Internal Revenue Service

National Consumers' League (National Fraud Information Center)

OnGuardOnline

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Social Security Administration

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency

U.S. Secret Service

Virginia Office of the Attorney General




          If you have questions about identity theft, or would like to schedule a
               presentation to learn more about identity theft, contact
                                    Consumer Affairs