Identity Theft | USAGov

Identity Theft

How to protect yourself against identity larceny and answer if it happens .

Identity Theft

Identity ( ID ) larceny happens when person steals your personal data to commit fraud. The identity thief may use your information to apply for citation, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your recognition condition, and cost you time and money to restore your good name .

Warning Signs of ID Theft

You may not know that you ’ ve experienced ID larceny immediately. You could be affected by ID larceny if you receive :

  • Bills for items you didn’t buy
  • Debt collection calls for accounts you didn’t open
  • Denials for loan applications

Potential Victims of ID Theft

Anyone can experience identity larceny. Children and seniors are both vulnerable to ID larceny. Child ID larceny may go undetected for many years. Victims may not know until they ’ ra adults, applying for their own loans. Seniors often contribution their personal information with doctors and caregivers. The count of people and offices that access seniors’ information put them at hazard .

Types of ID Theft

There are respective common types of identity larceny that can affect you :

  • Tax ID theft – Someone uses your Social Security number to falsely file tax returns with the IRS or your state
  • Medical ID theft – Someone steals your Medicare ID or health insurance member number. Thieves use this information to get medical services or send fake bills to your health insurer.
  • Unemployment ID theft – Someone uses your personal information  to claim (and receive) unemployment benefits.

Read about how you can prevent identity larceny .

Report Identity Theft

Report identity ( ID ) larceny to the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) on-line at or by call at 1-877-438-4338. The FTC will collect the details of your situation .

Differences in ID Theft Reporting

The deviation between reporting ID larceny on-line or call is if you receive an ID larceny report. An ID larceny reputation helps you prove to businesses that person stole your identity. This report helps you fix problems caused by the identity larceny .

  • If you report by phone, you won’t get an ID theft report.
  • If you report online, you will receive an ID theft report.

While reporting ID larceny on-line, you can besides create an score on If you create an score, you ‘ll :

  • Have access to pre-written letters that you can send to creditors to fix accounts .
  • Get a recovery plan to guide you through fixing problems caused by identity larceny .
  • Be able to track your advance in fixing problems that the identity larceny caused .

If you want these resources, you must create an account on when you start reporting the larceny. Download the FTC ‘s publication for detail tips, checklists, and sample distribution letters .

When to Report ID Theft to the Police

You may choose to report your identity larceny to your local police station. It could be necessary if :

  • You know the identity thief
  • The thief used your name in an interaction with the patrol
  • A creditor or another company requires you to provide a patrol composition .

Report Specific Types of Identity Theft

You may besides report specific types of identity larceny to other federal agencies .

  • medical Identity Theft – Contact Medicare ’ s imposter agency, if you have Medicare .
  • Tax Identity Theft – report card tax ID larceny to the Internal Revenue Service .
  • unemployment Identity Theft – Report unemployment benefits identity larceny to your state of matter ‘s labor department .

Report Identity Theft to Other Organizations

You can besides report the larceny to other organizations, such as :

  • credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit report agencies to place a imposter alert or freeze on your credit report. besides get copies of your citation reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. confirm that the credit report agency will alert the other two credit report agencies.
  • National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity larceny due to a quell in a nursing home or long-run care adeptness .
  • fiscal Institutions – touch the imposter department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts .
  • Retailers and early Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or flush applied for jobs .
  • State Attorney General Offices – Your submit ‘s lawyer general might offer tips, checklists, or an recommend to help you recover from identity larceny. These resources do n’t replace filing an ID larceny reputation with the FTC .

You may need to get modern personal records or recognition cards if you ‘re the victim of ID larceny. Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity larceny .

Prevent Identity Theft

Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from identity larceny :

  • Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
  • Don’t share personal information (birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) because someone asks for it.
  • Collect mail every day. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
  • Pay attention to your tooltip
    Billing hertz : the number of days between statements on a regularly recur bill .
    placard cycles
  • Use the tooltip
    security sport : an app or setting on a radio receiver device that can help protect the device and the data on it from threats and vulnerabilities .
    security features
  • Update sharing and tooltip
    firewall : security system monitor software that analyzes and blocks or allows information traveling between the internet and your computer based on a define set of security rules .
    firewall settings
    Public WiFi Network : ( WiFi hot spot ) a network that anyone can use to connect to the internet or other networks .
    populace wi-fi network
    virtual Private Network ( VPN ) : a private network that connects your calculator or fluid device to the internet and encrypts ( codes ) your information to protect your internet action from monitor or descry .
    virtual private network ( VPN )
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place.
  • Install firewalls and tooltip
    Virus Detection Software : ( antivirus software ) a computer broadcast used to prevent, detect, and remove malicious programs that have been placed on your computer to spy on you or to do damage to your calculator .
    virus-detection software
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Review your tooltip
    Credit Report : a report that shows your circular payment history, current debt, and other fiscal information .
    accredit reports
  • Freeze your credit files with Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange for free. Credit freezes prevent someone from applying for and getting approval for a credit account or utility services in your name.

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final Updated : March 31, 2022

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