Identity theft is no laughing matter

canstockphoto7216860 At some time during our credit life we have heard, or will hear about an ID theft issue from our creditors or banks.  Even the government has been touched by an invasion of identity theft occurrences.  So what can we do to protect ourselves?

I searched the www for some answers about what we can do, and what the Federal Trade Commission guidelines are.  Where can you get free help, and what are the steps to take should an identity theft attempt or real incident occur with your credit?

I’ve prepared a summary of what I found out.  You can click any of the links to gather more information.

  • While identity theft can happen to anyone, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft. The government’s website provides free personal recovery plans and step-by-step guidance to help identity theft victims recover.

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  • If you’re concerned about data breaches or identity theft, you may be considering signing up for identity theft protection services.
  • Before you enroll, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of various types of services. You also can compare them with free and low-cost services.

What are identity theft protection services?

  • Many companies refer to their services as identity theft protection services. In fact, no service can protect you from having your personal information stolen. What these companies offer are monitoring and recovery services.
  • Monitoring services watch for signs that an identity thief may be using your personal information.
  • Recovery services help you deal with the effects of identity theft after it happens. Monitoring and recovery services are often sold together, and may include options like regular access to your credit reports or credit scores. Source: Identity Theft Protection Services | Consumer Information

If you know your Social Security number is being misused, take these steps:  Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-0271 1-866-501-2101 (TTY) P.O. Box 17785 Baltimore, MD 21235 – Source: Do You Need a New Social Security Number? | Consumer Information

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