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Identity Theft

Millions of people use the Internet daily to connect, shop, pay bills, and play games.  Unfortunately, the personal information shared while online can expose them to identity theft.  The advancements in technology have made it much easier for identity thieves to obtain your personal information and it continues to be the fastest growing crime in the US.   Identity theft costs consumers millions of dollars in fraudulent charges each year and can take years and cost thousands of dollars to recover from.

Protecting Your Child From ID Theft (creditcards.com)

Common Types of Electronic Identity Theft

  • Phishing relies on pop-ups, spam, and websites that look authentic to obtain personal information, such as log-in information and credit card numbers.
    • Vishing is phishing over the phone
  • Pharming uses malicious code to redirect users to fraudulent sites where hackers can access their personal information.
  • Pretexting acquires personal information through false and illegal means, for example, obtaining financial information by pretending to call from a bank.
  • Skimming is when a device is used to collect and record the information from the magnetic strip on your credit card.
  • SMiShing involves sending spam text messages posing as a financial institution or other legitimate entity to obtain personal information.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Be careful with the information you share on social networks
  • Think before you click on a link or pop-up
  • Use a secure file sharing network
  • Never respond directly to emails, texts, or popup messages that ask for personal information
  • Lock your smartphone with a passcode and don't share it
  • Use a secure WiFi network that required a password to log in
  • Create strong passwords for all accounts and never share them
  • Parents/Guardians can place a credit freeze on child credit reports

What If You Were a Victim of Identity Theft?

  • Close any and all accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently
  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review them
    • TransUnion: (800) 680-7289; P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
    • Equifax: (888) 766-0008; P.O. Box 10569, Atlanta, GA 30348
    • Experian: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742); P.O. Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013
  • File a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau

For questions about this information, contact Chad Kliefoth (608) 267-9289, Janice Mertes (608) 267-1054