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Here are some tips to help prevent becoming an identity theft victim.

 

  • Never leave your financial information in your car.  Car prowl is a prime source for identity theft.
  • Have your mail delivered to a secure location.
  • Don't put bill payments in an unlocked mailbox for pickup.
  • Carefully review your account statements.
  • Don't give out your personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the phone call.
  • Never use a debit card or a check if you are shopping online.
  • Shred your financial garbage.
  • Obtain and review your credit reports regularly.
  • If using your debit card, use your hand to shield your PIN from view.

 

Even if you have taken all the above steps, you may still become a victim. If you learn that someone has obtained your financial information, take the following steps as soon as possible.  Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.  Review your credit reports to see if new accounts have been opened.  A fraud alert will help prevent a thief from opening new accounts. Credit reporting agencies can be reached at www.equifax.com; www.experian.com or www.transunion.com.

  • Make a police report with the police agency where you live.  Washington law allows an identity theft victim to make a report in their hometown, regardless of where the crime occurred.
  • Close any accounts that have been compromised or you think have been compromised.
  • Make a report to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or you can call 1-877-ID-THEFT.
  • Continue to review your credit reports for any unauthorized activity.

 

Additional information and resources can be found at the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

 

 

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