How to Secure your Identity from Thieves
The Royal Oak Police Department has had several calls concerning Identity Theft.
Identity theft is when a thief steals an individuals’ identity by stealing credit cards, checks, bank accounts and personal information, such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and employment histories. Armed with your personal information, a thief can buy new cars, empty your bank accounts, and ultimately, steal all of your assets in your name!
The good news is that, together, we can prevent this insidious crime.
- Never give out your Social Security number, driver’s license, any bank or credit account numbers or other identifying information unless you know the person or organization or you initiated contact.
- Treat checkbooks, ATM cards, credit cards, and credit card offers as if they are cash - protect them!
- Before discarding, you should shred all personal information.
- Notify financial institutions and credit card companies before relocating to a new home or care facility.
- Have your mail held at the post office when going on vacation or into the hospital.
- Cancel all unneeded credit cards.
- Say "NO" to credit card offers by calling 1-888-5-opt-out (567-8688)
- Make copies of all credit cards that are in your wallet and keep them in a safe place. This is in case you need to report a credit card stolen or any other kind of identity theft.
- Review financial and credit card statements each month for unauthorized activity.
- Obtain and review a copy of your credit report each year.
The Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies:
To order a report call: (888) 397-3742
To report fraud call: (888) EXPERIAN
To order a report call: (800) 685-1111
To report fraud call: (800) 525-6285
To order a report call: (800) 888-4213
To report a fraud call: (800) 680-7289
Per the Federal Trade Commission as of March 1, 2005, Michigan Residents can obtain a FREE copy of your credit reports. Go to the following website for more information: www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ycr_free_reports.htm
If you are a victim of identity theft, notify the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-24-ABUSE (242-2873)
The key to protecting yourself and the people you love from identity theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact community policing at (248) 246-3424.