How to Prevent and Report Identity Theft

How to Prevent and Report Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal or financial information without your permission. It can damage your credit status and cost you time and money.

Warning signs of ID theft

You may not know that you experienced ID theft immediately. Beware of:

  • Bills for items you did not buy
  • Debt collection calls for accounts you did not open
  • Information on your credit report for accounts you did not open
  • Denials for loan applications
  • Mail stops coming to – or is missing from – your mailbox

How to report ID theft

To report identity theft, contact:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or call 1-877-438-4338
  • The three major credit reporting agencies. Ask them to place fraud alerts and a credit freeze on your accounts
  • The fraud department at your credit card issuers, bank, and other places where you have accounts

How to protect yourself from identity theft

  • Do not answer phone calls, texts, or email from numbers or people you do not know.
  • Do not share personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth.
  • Collect your mail every day and place a hold on your mail when you will be on vacation or away from your home.
  • Review credit card and bank account statements. Watch for and report unauthorized or suspicious transactions.
  • Store personal information, including your Social Security card, in a safe place. Do not carry it in your wallet.