Identity theft happens when a user's personal information is accessed by someone else without explicit permission. Identity fraud occurs when criminals use illegally-obtained personal information and misuse it for financial gain, such as making fraudulent purchases or withdrawals, creating false accounts or attempting to obtain services such as employment or healthcare.These tips highlight the most effective ways to fight identity fraud:
Do not provide sensitive financial information over the Internet or phone, including SSNs, passwords, PINs, or account numbers unless you initiated the contact to a verified and trusted institution.
Monitor online financial accounts frequently and promptly review your other bank statements, credit card statements and other bills.
When entering a PIN or a credit card number in an ATM machine, at a phone booth, or even on a computer at work, be aware that no one is peering over your shoulder to note which keys you're pressing.
Shred personal records, bills, credit card statements, old credit cards, ATM receipts, medical statements - even junk mail solicitations before disposing of them in order to prevent "dumpster-diving."
When you sell, trade or otherwise dispose of a computer system, hard drive, or even a recordable CD, DVD or backup tape, take extra steps to ensure the data is completely destroyed. Physically destroy CD, DVD or tape media before disposal.
For more information about identity theft regulations, please visit the Compliance and Regulations page.