Don't Become a Victim of Identity Theft
Beware of crooks looking for more than holiday bargains. If you’re not careful, your identity could slip through the cracks during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the biggest shopping season of the year and a great opportunity for identity thieves and pickpockets to take advantage of crowded shopping environments. ITRC receives more calls about lost and stolen wallets between November and January than any other time of the year.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America; victimizing more than 10 million people a year. To encourage people to keep their identity safe, Money Management International (MMI) in partnership with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) will recognize Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW) October 17-24, 2009. To learn more about this initiative or to find an identity theft prevention event near you, visit
Identity theft can happen anywhere and to anyone, so it’s important to stay aware of the latest schemes, and understand how to protect yourself. With added protections, fighting ID theft is tough at best, so MMI offers the following everyday tips to help keep your information safe and secure:
- Don’t leave your wallet or statements lying around—even at home.
- Don’t carry Social Security cards or anything with your Social Security number on it
- Keep track of your credit card receipts and carbons.
- Never tell anyone your card number over the phone, unless you initiate the phone call.
- Never allow your credit card number to be used as identification.
- Collect your mail regularly and destroy unwanted credit solicitations.
- Monitor your credit statements.
If you become a victim, time is of the essence. Acting quickly can help limit the potential impact. Following are steps to take if your identity is compromised:
- File a police report.
- Immediately notify issuers of credit.
- Contact the fraud department of each of the credit reporting agencies to place a temporary 90-day Fraud Alert on your file.
- Monitor your credit file.
- Contact your local state Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (877-IDTHEFT).
Identity theft is recognized as a serious social issue by agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the United States Secret Service. For more information about protecting your good name, visit