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Identity theft is a growing problem that can damage your good name and your credit record, while costing you time and money.  Victims of identity theft can be denied loans due to the negative impact on their credit report.  Some have even been arrested for crimes another person committed under their name! While identity theft can happen through email or on the internet, it usually happens in a more low-tech way.  Thieves rely on any number of ploys to steal your name and your social security number. These include:

Click here to listen to "Identity Theft"Once they have your personal information, they can open fraudulent accounts under your name, get jobs using your social security number, obtain drivers licenses or passports under your name, or even commit crimes under your name.

Be On Guard Against Identity Theft
To help avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, guard your personal information closely.  This includes:

Click here to listen to "Keeping Your Identity Secure"Carefully review all your account statements each month to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.  Also, notice if bills that normally arrive each month stop coming.  This may be a sign that the account, along with your identity, as been hijacked to a new address. 

It’s also an excellent idea to review your credit report annually to look for any discrepancies that may indicate that someone has stolen your identity.  Under the Fair Credit Act you are allowed a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies.  You can obtain a copy by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, or calling toll-free 877-322-8228.

If Your Identity is Stolen
Click Here to Listen to "What to do when Your Identity is Stolen"If you fall victim to identity theft you should:

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s web pages on ID Theft.