Identity Theft - How to Recognize It and What to Do

Identity Theft

What is identity theft?

How can someone steal your identity? Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

What would the thieves do with my name and other information

Typical examples of uses that criminals have for your personal information and identity are:

  • to apply for credit cards in your name, and run up a bill

  • to create fake driver's licenses, green cards, passports and other forms of identification for illegal aliens, using their photograph with your name, address and other information

  • to apply for government benefits, like social security, taking benefits in your name

  • to apply for loans and mortgages in your name.

What are the consequences to me?

Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, mortgages, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.

What can I do to PREVENT theft of my identity?

See this page for a comprehensive checklist of steps to take to protect your identity from identity theft.

What should I do if I think my identity has been stolen or compromised?

If you think your identity has been stolen, here's what to do now:

Click here for the complete list of steps to take.

More information:

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!




For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.