There are people out there who are experts at taking someone else's identity.
They steal it from your social security number, your bank account, or even by
appropriating one of your credit card numbers. And it happens every day.
The problem is that anytime someone messes with your identity, they also mess
with your credit. That is the whole reason they are tapping into you, for your
This crime is fairly easy to commit and difficult to catch. But there are
some preventative steps you can take to protect yourself. The Better Business
Bureau and Federal Trade Commission recommend you do the following to
minimize your risk:
The most common ways to lose your identity is through theft. Here are some of
the ways thieves can gain access to your data:
If you do fall victim to identity theft, take immediate action to stop
access. Cancel your credit cards. Call your bank. Report it to the police.
Contact the fraud unit of the three credit reporting agencies and request
that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file as well as a request to call you
if there is any new activity in your accounts, i.e. asking for new accounts
or changing existing ones.
Always take these actions by phone with a follow-up letter. You will
ultimately want your anti-identity theft actions in your file in writing to
protect yourself down the line.
Source: The Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.