Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal identifying information and uses it to open new accounts, access existing accounts, or commit crimes using your name. An identity thief may even file a false tax return in your name, obtain a tax refund and leave you to sort out the mess with the IRS.

Glossary

  • Data Security Breach
    • an individual’s personal identifying information (DOB, SSN, address) has been exposed.
  • Compromised Account
    • an individual’s bank account and/or credit card account has been fraudulently accessed or used.
  • Fraud Alert
    • Free, good for 90 days. You only need to notify one credit reporting agency, it will notify the other two. You will need to provide certain personal information to verify your identity.
  • Credit Freeze
    • Blocks lenders and credit card companies from accessing an individual’s personal identifying information and credit information, preventing the identity thief from opening new bank, loan or credit card accounts. Has to be placed separately at each credit reporting agency. You will need to provide certain personal information and documentation to verify your identity. $5 (free for victim of identity theft).

The Federal Trade Commission has additional information on your rights under federal law and other information that may help you decide whether to file a fraud alert, credit freeze or both.