An identity thief is someone who steals your checks, your social security number, or other personal identification, then uses your information to obtain credit in your name or to commit a crime. We hope you never find you've been the victim of an identity thief and take the necessary steps to help reduce the chance of someone stealing your identity. Most identity thieves get your information by stealing a purse or wallet, or by stealing checks or credit card information out of your mail.
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim
- Promptly remove your mail after it has been delivered, or get a locking mailbox approved by the postal service.
- Don't put outgoing mail in your mailbox, take it to a collection box or your local post office.
- Don't have your checks mailed to you, pick them up at the bank.
- Ask that your name be removed from the pre-approved credit card list, call 888-567-8688. This will reduce the amount of credit card applications sent to you.
- Don't carry your social security card with you and only give the number out when necessary.
- Shred charge receipts, credit card information, bank checks and statements, expired credit cards and other statements with personal information.
- Identity thieves sometimes pose as a business, bank, government agency or charity to get you to reveal personal information. Never give your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to anyone calling you.
- Make copies of the front and back of all credit cards and other pertinent information in your wallet, or purse in case it is lost or stolen.
- Pay attention to what time of the month your bills arrive. If they don't arrive on time, call your creditor and check on the status of your account.
- Never order from an unsecured server on the internet. Never give personal information that is solicited on line, if the organization already does business with you, then they already have your information.
- Order your credit information from the three major credit bureaus each year and make sure the information is correct. If you do become a victim of identity theft, then report the crime to the police or sheriff in the area where you live.
Additional resources to obtain information on identity theft:
Federal Trade Commission:
Identity theft hotline: 1-877-IDTHEFT
Washington State Attorney General's Office:
Website post detailed information about ID theft
Social Security Administration:
Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-027
U.S. Postal Service:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Credit Reporting Agencies:
Order Credit Report: 1-800-685-1111
Report Fraud: 1-800-525-6285
Order Credit Report: 1-888-EXPERIAN
Report Fraud: 1-888-EXPERIAN
Order Credit Report: 1-800-888-4213
Report Fraud: 1-800-680-7289