Protect yourself from identity
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United
States. In 2005 11,137 identity theft crimes were committed in Illinois - 828%
more than in 2000.
Identity thieves steal your personal
identifying information such as name, address, date of birth, social security
number, credit card number, driver's license number and use that information to
fraudulently obtain credit, money and other goods and services.
Identity thieves may open a phony bank account, or steal from your bank
account, obtain unauthorized credit cards, apply for a house or car loan or
lease an apartment with a false name using your personal information.
Protect yourself from these types of crime:
- Shred or tear up
all personal financial documents such as ATM receipts, bank statements, credit
and charge card bills, birth certificates, legal documents etc.
not print personal identifiers such as your social security number, date of
birth or driver's license number on your check.
- Use your social
security number only when necessary.
- Before revealing any personal
information, online or in person, ask how it will be used.
- Do not
answer personal, financial or identifying questions to an unknown phone
- Carefully review your monthly credit card and bank
statements, checking for unauthorized use.
- Get a copy of your
credit report at least once a year to check for errors.
the number of cards you carry, especially your social security card and
If you become a victim of identity theft
Contact your local police department or sheriff's office and file a
report. Make sure to get a copy of the report in case your creditors need
proof of the crime.
Then contact the fraud department of each of the
three major credit bureaus:
Tell them to flag your file with a fraud alert including a statement that
creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your
Next, contact the creditors for any accounts that have been
tampered with or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in their
security or fraud department and follow up in writing.
If it appears
someone is using your social security number, get in touch with the Social
Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) to verify the accuracy of your
reported earnings and that your name is reported correctly.
also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by contacting
their Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 (TDD 202-326-2502) or by mail:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20580
or online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity.
Protect yourself from auto theft
- Never leave keys in the
vehicle or ignition.
- Never hide a second set of keys anywhere in your
- Never leave your vehicle running, even in your driveway.
- Always keep windows up and doors locked even while driving.
- Try to park in a busy, well-lit area.
- Remove valuables from your
vehicle and place them in the trunk out of view.
- Copy your license
number and vehicle identification number on a piece of paper and keep it with
you. If your car is stolen it cannot be entered into the statewide network
without this information.
- Carry your license, insurance card,
registration and title in your wallet. Thieves use these documents to
impersonate you. If you don't want to carry your registration and insurance
cards, copy them and hide the copies in the vehicle.
- Park with front
wheels turned sharply making your car difficult to tow.
- Install a
visible anti-theft device.
- Alarm stickers may make you feel safe, but
they tell a thief what type of system you have.
- Engrave your
driver's license number and state on valuable components in your car, such as
stereos and cellular phones.
- Etch the vehicle identification number
onto the vehicle's windows to deter thieves and aid in recovery.