Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone uses your identifying information such as your name, social security number or credit card number, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
As a Californian, you should be very cautious since California is one of the top 10 states with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints.
While there is no guaranteed way to completely prevent identity theft from occurring, you can take proactive steps to safeguard yourself against the crime. Some measures you can take to prevent identity theft from happening to you include:
- Shred papers with confidential information
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at home and work and if stolen, close your accounts as soon as you can
- Regularly update your virus protection software and firewall to prevent online identity theft
- Do not carry your social security card around with you- have the number memorized and store in a locked safe or other protected place
- Do not give personal information (through the internet, phone, mail, or in person) unless you have initiated the contact or know the individual, business or company you are dealing with
- Avoid using easily available personal information, such as names or birth dates, for your passwords
However, if your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly. Here are some guidelines you should follow if your identity has been stolen:
- Call your credit card companies immediately
- Explain what happened, and ask where to send a copy of the police report
- Call and report to the police
- Make several copies of police report including a copy for your own personal records
- Complete a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Theft Affidavit and FTC report (call 1-887-ID-THEFT to request the forms)
- Call your bank -they can place an alert on your Driver’s License number and Social Security Number, and freeze your account
- Call fraud units of credit report agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion
Although the majority of identity theft cases are reported by individuals between the ages of 20 and 49, identity theft can and has proven to affect anyone of any age.
Identity Theft Complaints by Victims’ Age:
Fortunately, identity theft protection is available as an endorsement on most homeowners’ policies at a small cost (as low as $12 a year). The coverage reimburses certain expenses associated with identity recovery. Customers can also get guidance on how to protect themselves from ID theft before it happens and may receive assistance with identity restoration.
If you’re interested in learning more or have any questions or concerns, call us at 415-386-2283 or reach us by e-mail at [email protected]!